News

No 11th night bonfire in Rathfriland

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

No 11th night bonfire in Rathfriland thumbnailThe remains of a previous bonfire at the John Street site

A NEW site has been found for the annual 11th night celebrations in Rathfriland, writes Louise McDowell.

However, it is understood there will be no actual bonfire this year instead there will be a family-friendly festival in the Square.

For years, the traditional site of the annual celebrations was at the bottom of John Street.

However, that location is no longer viable due to a new housing development in close proximity to the site. It is considered that a fire at this site would "present a risk to property and residents".

As a result, community representatives approached the local council and requested that "a cultural event be held in Rathfriland Square to work towards replacing the traditional bonfire".

Council praised this step saying they see it as "a very positive way forward for Rathfriland".

The event has been planned to take place on Tuesday, 11 July in Rathfriland Square from 5.30pm to 8pm (approximately).

Proposed activities include a DJ, music, a variety of street entertainers, bouncy castles and other activities all "aimed at a family-friendly event".

Council said "the cultural aspect of the event will include Ulster Scots dancers, live music and potential workshops".

Council says it will regularly review bonfire sites to ensure that there is no risk to the public.

"Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council officers have commenced work on bonfire sites across the borough to monitor activity and [where possible] mitigate against risk to residents and visitors.

"Officers consider each site on an individual basis and work proactively with communities where there is wide support and willingness to provide community events rather than a bonfire.

"Good Relations staff have been approached by community representatives from Rathfriland about the 11th night bonfire." They added that they will be working alongside the community to ensure this event is a success.

"Council officers see this as a very positive way forward for Rathfriland and will continue to work with community representatives to ensure the event is successful".

It is estimated that the event will cost between 5000 and 7000 and will be funded by the Executive Office, council and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

It was expected that this would be formally agreed by councillors who sit on the council's Leisure and Community Service Committee meeting last night (Monday) before it will be presented to the full council at the end of the month.

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