A-Z: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Bonfires and cultural expression

One of the goals of our Good Relations Action Plan is to promote the positive expression of culture. As part of this, we're working with communities across Belfast to help improve the way July bonfires are managed and provide support to increase opportunities for positive cultural expression.

Our bonfire and cultural expression programme aims to support positive, respectful expressions of culture that value diversity and encourage participation. The programme will: 

  • support creative forms of cultural expression within communities
  • support positive change, and 
  • work with communities to encourage safe forms of cultural celebration.

We will help communities where July bonfires occur to connect with the cultural significance of the occasion through the funding of small scale community festival events and activities. We will also fund activity that raises awareness of cultural heritage and what it can mean to different groups. 

The programme is part of our wider work in promoting Belfast as a welcoming, safe and inclusive city as outlined in the Belfast Agenda. We will also continue our collaborative work with a number of agencies on the issue of bonfires. 

We will continue to support groups who deliver activity that aims to address issues associated with August bonfires and to tackle some negative aspects and challenges that continue to be associated with some bonfires.

2019 programme

Applications for our Bonfire and Cultural Expression programme for 2019 closed on Tuesday 30 April at 4pm.

The programme offers groups, that are successful in their application, access to an initial award of £1,250 with a second award of £500 available following July activities for those groups who meet the programme framework. This additional £500 will be available for activities that promote engagement on issues of cultural expression and diversity.

Those who are awarded funding will agree to take practical steps to ensure that sites which are linked to funded events will be managed in accordance with the following criteria:
1. No collection of materials before 1 June 2019.
2. Tyres or other hazardous materials should not be collected or burnt on the bonfire
3. Groups should not display paramilitary trappings flags or symbols on bonfires or at any funded activities.
4. Bonfires should be sited in a clear, unenclosed space at a safe distance from buildings and overhead cables. Safety risks should be assessed and managed, and appropriate advice and guidance sought from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) and other relevant agencies.
5. Groups should not burn or display any items such as flags, emblems or election posters which are likely to cause offense or could be considered a hate crime.
6. Groups must comply with council’s health and safety and events management guidance, as well as meeting relevant licensing and insurance requirements.

Council will also provide bonfire beacons upon request, which will be allocated on agreed criteria.

Applications will now be assessed before offers of funding are made.

If you would like to find out how Good Relations can support better bonfire management please email

This programme is part funded by the Executive Office through the District Council Good Relations Programme.

Contact us
Good relations
028 9027 0663
Good Relations Unit
Chief Executive's Department
Belfast City Hall