Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 13:36 UK

Council faces 6K bonfire bill

Lecky Road bonfire
Traffic in the Lecky Road was disrupted throughout the weekend

Derry City Council has said the estimated bill for clearing up after the annual August 15th bonfires will be about £6,000.

Traffic on Lecky Road was disrupted over the weekend, while council workers were still clearing up in the Creggan and Bogside areas on Monday.

Fr Michael Canny from St Eugene's Cathedral said the situation was unacceptable.

"They turned it into a no-go area for the past few days," he said.

"They held this community to ransom by holding these bonfires against their wishes, by blocking off roads and inconveniencing them."

Briege Quigley, 79, who lives at St Columb's Wells in the Lecky Road area, said she feared the fire would spread to her home.

"Sparks were coming into my garden at the back and the heat was terrible - I thought the glass in the windows would break," she said.

"It was frightening - the smoke was all over the place. I don't know how they were allowed to light a fire there."

SDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey said he wanted people in the city to reach a consensus about the bonfires.

"There's a major public health concern over this, not to mention the amount of money wasted in public expenditure in the aftermath of a bonfire," he said.

He condemned as "inexcusable" an attack at Melmore Gardens in Creggan, when stones were thrown at a fire crew.

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