The organisers of the bonfire in Tigers Bay have told the Northern Ireland Infrastructure Minister “there is the potential for serious and widespread disorder and a threat to life” if the pyre is removed against their will.
The claim was made in a document outlining the legal issues the group made in a meeting with Nichola Mallon last night.
It stated there was no risk to life should the bonfire remain where it is, however there could be potential widespread disorder should the bonfire be removed”.
First Minister Paul Givan called for tensions to ease. He said it was a small bonfire, had no inappropiate material that could cause offence, and called on nationalist politicians to show some respect in order to make sure the Twelfth period was celebrated in “a respectful manner”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who is visiting Northern Ireland, told BBC Radio Ulster he believed the decision as to whether or not the bonfire should go ahead would be a decision for the PSNI. It was pointed out to Sir Keir the decision actually lies with the Infrastructure Minister.
When asked if the bonfire should go ahead, Sir Keir said:
“De-escalate the tension. Talk to both sides. We would have to talk to the police about it as well because in practical terms, if anything is asked to be done it is the police that would be in the middle of this. But I would talk to both sides about the particular issue.”
Newly elected DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the bonfire should be “permitted” and that he thought it was the “appropriate response” that community events and the Eleventh Night lighting of the pyre should continue unhindered.