Large crowd attend 'peaceful' bonfire but controversy continues

Bonfire at Corcrain, Portadown
Bonfire at Corcrain, Portadown

A large crowd attended a 'peaceful' bonfire in Portadown last night but controversy continues with Sinn Fein branding it 'an absolute disgrace'.

Representatives of the Corcrain Bonfire said last night was a great success.

Bonfire at Corcrain, Portadown

Bonfire at Corcrain, Portadown

Previously a spokesperson for the bonfire builders described as 'hysteria' moves to evacuate homes.

They estimated that several thousands attended the bonfire at the Portadown estate with the NI Fire and Rescue Service dousing down nearby flats with foam to protect them from the blaze.

It followed intense meetings and much controversy with residents in half the 24 flats leaving their homes to find alternative accommodation for the night.

Independent Unionist Paul Berry congratulated the bonfire organisers.

While attending the event, Cllr Berry praised the bonfire builders, adding: "All going well and great community spirit. Thankfully all safe and well done."

Sinn Fein Cllr Paul Duffy said he was glad no one was hurt at Wednesday night's bonfire in Corcrain.

"It was an absolute disgrace that people had to leave their homes because of this bonfire."

He also said that it was disgraceful that the NI Fire and Rescue Service had to 'foam down houses instead of tackling the fire'.

"There has been a total lack of leadership by the DUP on this issue. Sinn Fein will be asking questions how it got to this stage.

"Also there is an onus on businesses not to supply pallets to these bonfires.

"It is disgraceful that the statutory agencies were put under unnecessary stress," he said.

A Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Spokesperson said: “Firefighters were called at 10.09pm last night (10 July) to attend a bonfire on Westland Road Portadown.

"Three Fire Appliances attended. There was no risk to life or property and therefore no action was taken by Firefighters.

“While in attendance at this incident the Corcrain bonfire in the same area, was lit. In order to protect nearby property Firefighters applied foam to the buildings. The incident was dealt with at 00.44am (12 July).”

A spokesperson for the South Ulster Housing Association said: "All went peacefully due to efforts from all involved, which supported a positive outcome.

"There is no obvious damage to our properties although an inspection will be carried out today (Thursday). There were no injuries to tenants or members of their household. Residents are able to return to their property."