Families and communities are under attack nightly because of issues around bonfires, according to Stormont Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill.

Speaking at an event in Dublin, she said it was "unfortunate" that two Ministers had to go to court to try to get the PSNI to uphold the rule of law regarding the bonfire in Belfast's Tiger's Bay, close to the nationalist New Lodge Road area.

Sinn Féin Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey and SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon took proceedings against the PSNI over its decision not to intervene on the bonfire in the loyalist area of Tiger's Bay in north Belfast.

The police declined to offer protection to removal contractors, citing concerns that their intervention could lead to disorder.

The ministers' bid to compel the police to act failed at emergency High Court proceedings yesterday.

Nationalist residents claim they are living in fear and have been attacked by missiles thrown by loyalist bonfire builders.

Loyalists have rejected suggestions the siting of the bonfire was deliberately provocative and have accused nationalists and republicans of whipping up tensions in an effort to deny them what they view as a legitimate celebration of their culture.

The bonfire is now set to be lit tomorrow night as part of traditional "Eleventh Night" events.

Speaking at the annual Special Somme Commemoration at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Ms O'Neill said she absolutely endorsed the right of everyone to celebrate their culture.

However she added "there is no room for bonfires in interface areas".

First Minister Paul Givan, who also attended the event, said there had been a lot of work done by the local community in Tiger's Bay to make sure there is a managed solution and there were no tricolours or effigies or offensive material on the bonfire.

He said the local community should be given space to take us through the next 24 or 48 hours and added "I'm hopeful that we can come out the other side of this in a peaceful manner".

Meanwhile a DUP MLA has said the legal bid by Ms Hargey and Ms Mallon should never have been taken to court.

William Humphrey said public money had been squandered in the proceedings.

Mr Humphrey told the PA news agency: "We are very pleased and relieved at the ruling, it is a case that frankly shouldn't have been taken in the first place. We are pleased that the judge dismissed the case.

"The ministers have squandered taxpayers' money on the case and really what they would be better placed doing is working with the community in Tiger's Bay in developing the site, because the site has sat for many years and neither department has shown any interest in developing it."

Mr Humphrey added: "Tensions were deliberately raised this year by people who were saying we should dial down the rhetoric, yet those same people were the people who were working with solicitors in terms of putting together court cases.

"They were raising tensions and not giving proper responsible leadership to the community in north Belfast. The reality is the bonfire is smaller than it has been in previous years, it has been moved back, there is nothing offensive on the bonfire and it is a small, children's bonfire.

"I just left the site and there are a handful of people there. We don't expect there to be any trouble, we don't want any trouble. If people are intent on causing trouble they should stay away and let the community celebrate its culture."

The Police Federation, which represents rank and file PSNI officers, said the court decision was good news because it meant police officers would not be "thrown into the middle".

Chairman Mark Lindsay told the BBC: "I am very disappointed that two of the (Government) departments who should have had this issue sorted a year ago hadn't (done so) ... and, once again, we're trying to throw police into a crisis they hadn't sorted out.

"It's really good news for our officers that they are not being thrown into the middle of what really is a horrendous situation for them."

He added: "There's been very hard-won relationships built in both those areas and I think that for policing to be thrown into the middle and to actually come toe-to-toe, if you like, fighting with people from those communities, is not good news for anybody.

"It's certainly not good news for policing and definitely not good news for those communities."

Additional reporting Press Asssociation