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Government rules out compensation for bonfire damage

Firefighters spent Tuesday evening dousing the building near Sandy Row with water. Photo: UTV

The Northern Ireland Office has said it does not operate a bonfire compensation scheme.

It comes after residents of a Belfast apartment block which had its windows broken by the heat from a bonfire this week called for accountability.

Firefighters spent the Eleventh Night dousing the building on Wellwood Street with water to prevent it catching fire.

However some windows were shattered and there was also smoke damage.

On Friday, a spokesperson for the NIO ruled out the possibility of the Government picking up the tab for any repairs, saying the issue of bonfires is “complex”.

She said: "The Northern Ireland Office does not operate a bonfire compensation scheme.

"The issue of bonfires is complex and often involves a number of organisations operating within the devolved administration such as the local council and the respective landowner.

"Where an individual is seeking compensation for damage to property, the specific circumstances of each claim will define the process."

Meanwhile Belfast City Council has also said it has no bonfire compensation scheme.

A spokesman said: "The council works with a range of partner agencies and communities to mitigate the most negative impacts of bonfires.

“However, it has no role in relation to the bonfire itself."

But local MP Emma Little Pengelly has said the block is fully insured and repairs will be undertaken - and also pledged to work with the community in Sandy Row to ensure the incident would not be repeated.

"I will be in regular contact with him to ensure this happens," the DUP representative added.

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