Grants for bonfire events ‘should be standardised’

Boyne Square bonfire at the end of last week. INLT 28-332-PR
Boyne Square bonfire at the end of last week. INLT 28-332-PR

Councillors have questioned why there is such “disparity” in the level of funding provided to various bonfire groups by Larne Council.

Grants totalling more than £10,000 have been earmarked for July 11 celebrations at eight bonfire sites in the borough, ranging from almost £4,000 at Ferris Park to £570 at Millbrook.

And Alderman Roy Beggs has raised concerns about the difference in funding allocated to each event.

At the latest meeting of the environment committee , the Ulster Unionist representative asked how the higher levels of funding could be justified.

He pointed out that it was public money said it should be distributed fairly.

Mr Beggs suggested this should be the last year funding is allocated in this way and felt the issue should be put on an agenda, properly discussed and planned for in advance.

DUP Alderman Winston Fulton also voiced his concern and thought the amounts paid out should be standardised.

However, SDLP Cllr Martin Wilson said the difference in funding reflected the fact that each event was “different in its magnitude”. He also asked why some bonfire sites had received no grants.

Chief executive Geraldine McGahey advised that not all areas received funding as not all applied for it, or are not part of the bonfire forum. She added it was not possible to standardise funds due to the differences in scale at various events.