Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has called on the community to support the positive alternatives to bonfires in the city.
The Foyle MP said:
“As we face into the days ahead with the prospect of 11th night and August 15th bonfires, we must not take a step backward from the progress that has been made in this city in recent years.
“We need to see mature and responsible leadership across the community and engagement with the wider youth population. It is certainly challenging but it is possible.
“Previously I was directly involved in the eradication of a troublesome bonfire in Moss Park and replacing it with an inclusive and family friendly community festival as an alternative.
“Earlier this year after consultation with young people and youth groups in the Bogside area, a compromise position was reached, in line with the wishes of local residents, but this was then rejected by those behind this bonfire because they are insisting on burning flags, which is unacceptable.
“The organisers of the Gasyard Féile have put together a fantastic programme, including an innovative alternative to bonfires with the Return of the Phoenix event involving top quality bands and a unique fire sculpture similar to the successful Temple event held in the city in 2015.
“Events like these, together with the range of excellent community festivals organised across the city, are part of the alternative to the problematic bonfires of the past and should be embraced by all in the community.
“It is important that these positive community events are supported by as many people as possible.
“In particular, we need to see responsible leadership from wider civic society in the city to tackle the problems associated with bonfires in line with the wishes of local communities.
“We have an opportunity to continue to move forward as a city; let’s grasp that opportunity for the benefit of everyone.”