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The 'Twelfth' Bonfires - Is the tradition being lost to the extremists?

  • 10-07-2022 12:32pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3,455 ✭✭✭

    Tragically a young man has lost his life in County Antrim after a fall from about 15m while helping to build a bonfire, typically made from wooden pallets.

    Firstly let me be clear this discussion is not solely about this particular incident and my thoughts and prayers are with a family that has lost a loved one, regardless of the circumstances. But I do think that this does need an open discussion in the wider community about what is an acceptible norm with regard to the practice of 'building' bonfires?

    As someone who has observed this tradition from afar, it seems that this risk has grown bigger each year of people being seriously hurt or dying. Whilst I have no issue with bonfires as part of a tradition, surely the desire to take things to the extreme by increasing in height and be bigger each year is deviating away from the 'tradition' itself.

    The article reports:

    DUP MP for the area, Sammy Wilson, attended the scene. He said: “It’s a real tragedy. I think his mum was there shortly after it happened. She is shattered by it. A local minister was also there. There was nothing could be done to save his life. People are shocked and horrified.”

    Again I appreciate people are horrified, but how can people be shocked when a tragedy like this is entirely predictable? It surely was a matter of when and not if and if you didnt think so then you clearly have your head in the sand.

    Put simply, when you are 'working' at height, on an unstable structure without an adequate fall prevention system in place, your chances of being seriously injured or death are actually very high. Looking at it entirely from a risk perspective, the likelihood of such an occurance is high and the impact if it occurs is devestating - high risk.

    East Antrim Alliance Party MLA Stewart Dickson tweeted his condolences to the man.

    "Sad news from #Larne as a young man died after falling from a 11th night bonfire being built in Antiville,” he wrote.

    "My deepest sympathy goes to his family and friend and the whole community as it reflects on this tragic death.

    But what will be the outcome of this reflection? Surely this would entail looking that a practice that tolerates (particularly young men) to undertake risky behaviours of 'working' at height without any safety measures in place.

    Meanwhile, other bonfires across Northern Ireland paid tribute to the man, including the nearby Craigyhill, who wrote on social media: “It is with deepest sympathy the tragedy that happened tonight to a fellow bonfire builder in the Antiville estate in Larne.

    “It is with his family wishes that the Craigyhill bonfire carries on and beats the world record in his memory.

    The mere fact that some of these people refer to themselves as 'bonfire builders' infers there is some kind of expertise or competancy in place associated with this pratice - but sadly there is not.

    Actual builders, are regulated by society and have some of the strictest safety obligations placed upon them. The risks of working at heights are well researched and all employers, not just builders, can face criminal prosecutions in the event an employee or member of the public is exposed to, injured or dies while being at height without adequate preventative meaures in place. If this is the societal expectation, why then is the practice of 'bonfires' and those who build them not afforded a minimum level of protections. Or simply outlawed. Sometimes we need laws in society to protect people from themselves.

    Anyone who has worked in construction generally has to undergo a minimum level of training which covers of this risk. However the authorities seem unwilling to kerb this behaviour. Whilst they may be complicit through inaction, I think it speaks greater to society in general that this is not only tolerated, but encouraged. The fact the family apprently wish to see the 'world record' beaten in his memory seems to be evidence of this.

    Personally I have no issue with the tradition or the people who undertake such. My point is that the tradition seems to have been forgotton in the desire to take things to the extreme.

    The costs of these tragedies are huge and entirely avoidable while it seems to be in the 'too hard' basket for the Government and Authorities.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,141 ✭✭✭Quitelife

    These bonfires were always about letting local Catholics / nationalists know who’s boss and normally saw pictures of well known nationalists burned along with tri colours . Normally carried out in loyalist housing estates with loads of lager consumed , nowadays cocaine and lager .

    Another piece of Britishness nationalists in the 6 counties have had to endure for the last hundred years whilst most in the 26 counties stand idly by .

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,883 ✭✭✭✭Furze99

    Condolences to family of chap who lost his life.

    Will hopefully give pause for thought as the size of some of them is staggering. It's almost a statement of virility now, mine is bigger than yours etc. You'd wonder where they find time to build them, a few jobs wouldn't go amiss.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,618 ✭✭✭✭

    What a bizarre thread title.

    The "tradition" being "lost to extremism"?

    Are the new extremists notably worse than the previous generations?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,971 ✭✭✭trashcan

    What a stupid, stupid waste of life.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 38,275 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    Not seeing the connection between tradition being lost and the loss of a child's life due to their committing an incredibly stupid act.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,375 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck

    Op must be watching from very far afar indeed if he doesn't realise how this so called "tradition" has always belonged to the extremists.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,921 ✭✭✭John Doe1

    They should be banned for health and safety reasons even apart from the medieval xenophobic hatred they represent.

    If this is their culture, its an inferior culture and should be cut out.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Unionism is extremist and anti democratic in nature. Thread title is absurd.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    I know we're a bit of a nanny state down south but I can't for the life of me figure out how these bonfires are allowed. Utterly crazy even if you leave aside the political poison that comes with them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,801 ✭✭✭bluefinger

    It's gotten out of control recently. The Craigyhill bonfire fundraised 20k that was spent on pallets.

    also I'd say if they could build them in the shape of a middle finger salute they'd try that too

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  • Posts: 25,611 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Build them taller sure. Feck it, give some executive money for pallets and tyres but they have to be a minimum height. Hahahaha.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,399 ✭✭✭✭NIMAN

    An accident like this was always going to happen. And it's only a matter of time before it happens again or else a row of houses get damaged.

    The fact that these monstrosities get tax payers money to help build them, kinda sums up the mess that is NI.

    As for banning them, ha good luck with that. You obviously know nothing about the North if you thought that was even a possibility.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,399 ✭✭✭✭NIMAN

    He was in his 30s.

    The way it was reported earlier I assumed he was a child. I guess when you are 30 you make you own decisions in life.

  • Posts: 25,611 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Yup. Alas we're in a world now where everything needs to be refined and framed to generate as much sympathy as possible for a "victim".

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Help & Feedback Category Moderators Posts: 9,807 CMod ✭✭✭✭Shield

    May he RIP. Condolences to his family and friends.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,383 ✭✭✭✭Igotadose

    This is the part I don't get. It's like the anti-vaxxers that die from Covid after sh*tposting about the vaccine on FB; these aren't good people. They're not nice. They're full of hate for <whatever.> Their families can't stand them as a rule. They're advocating for something ugly.

    No different here - dimbulb participating in some stupid exhibit of hatred falls to his death probably doing something unsafe. I'd expect his family won't miss him at all. It's like the death cult in ROI, husband kills wife & kids and gets a Mass said for them in a Church. Really? Horrible people are just that - horrible.

    No condolences from me. If his family gave a rats about him, they'd dissuade him from risking his life on such a stupid activity. The fact they didn't tells you a lot about how much they'll miss him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,638 ✭✭✭John_Rambo

    I assume it was a child too.

    He was in his mid thirties.... Building a bonfire.

    What a shocking waste of life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,664 ✭✭✭✭maccored

    they always were extremists

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,817 ✭✭✭Northernlily

    Absolutely daft dick measuring contest driven by people with IQs in the single digits.The proximity of the Craigyhill one to housing is frightening.

    Seriously need to ban them on safety grounds. I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for the individual that has passed, play stupid games win stupid prizes. He knew the risks.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,876 ✭✭✭bokale

    I presume they are already illegal? How could such a thing be legal on public land?

  • Registered Users Posts: 631 ✭✭✭MakersMark

    Guy was a dope and deserved what he got.

    It wasn't a tragic accident, it was the logical outcome of scaling an enormous, unstable pile of pallets without PPE.

    His family and the country are better off without him, as he would have poisoned the minds of his children.

    Also, no one on here has any sympathy, just crocodile tears and virtue signalling

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,399 ✭✭✭✭NIMAN

    It's a massive grey area.

    Are they illegal? Some probably are, but I'd say the authorities probably don't think it is worth the strife that would come with getting a court order to take them down. Instead just let them have their night of 'culture ', and then clean the area up until next year. If they did move in and demolish them, they would have street rioting and who knows what as a result.

    Someone was always going to have an accident on these structures, and it's happened today. It'll not change a thing. He will be hailed as a hero rather than a fool, that's ni again for you.

    But I do think the next accident or major incident from these bonfires will be housing getting badly damaged or set alight. It's only a matter of time.

    But hey, culture and all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,876 ✭✭✭bokale

    Is it a grey area?

    I can't imagine how a bonfire is legal on land you don't own anywhere in Ireland.

    Like there is even rules on what you can burn in your own house/land no?

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 12,717 Mod ✭✭✭✭riffmongous

    Well considering they were flying a UFF and UDA banner on the bonfire last year, my sympathy is limited

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,399 ✭✭✭✭NIMAN

    As I said, probably illegal but do you think it would be easy to remove them all?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,876 ✭✭✭bokale

    I don't know. How close did they get to removing them all this year?

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,399 ✭✭✭✭NIMAN

    Didn't follow anything this year, but I know in the past they did have to move in and remove some, but it had to be done by masked contractors with police protection to allow it to happen.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 38,275 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    I would never express happiness at anyone's death, regardless of who it is. This seems like such a senseless way to die as you've said. The risks would have been obvious going in. It's hard to fathom what his train of thought was going into this.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,883 ✭✭✭✭Furze99

    Inclined to agree, despite the noxiousness of them, easier to just let them at it in places as sensible as possible. Allows a bit of steam to be blown off and better than bombs anyday.