Council funding of bonfires and asked whether this was burning public money or a necessary investment in good relations? Details of breaches of grant conditions (no flags, no political posters, no tyres etc) are now available for this summer's bonfires. However, inspections seem to be partially avoidable and evidence gathering isn't complete.
Fewer breaches found in 2014 than 2013. Most of those sites will not receive the full grant amount. Yet the ability – year after year – to still claim 70% of the funding isn’t much of a deterrent. Particularly if the shortfall is for part of the budget that isn’t core to the costs on the day.
Surely those sites which breach the conditions should only be offered a reduced grant if they apply the following year, restored to the full amount the year after if they successfully meet the full conditions.
A seminar on The Complexities of Parading was held on Wednesday evening by the Journey Towards Healing project of NIAMH Wellbeing (Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health). Gary Mason hosted the conversation, with remarks from Mervyn Gibson (minister of Westbourne Presbyterian Community Church and assistant grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland) and Sean Murray (Sinn Féin). The two talks were followed by Q&A with the thirty or forty people present in a Belfast City Mission meeting room, including challenging responses from Linda Ervine and Deirdre Hargey.
As an experiment, I filmed the talks using a tiny Polaroid Cube camera clamped onto the side of the side of the audio recorder. More about my impressions of the Cube