Council workers under attack in Newtownhamilton

Thursday, 15 March 2018

REFUSE collection services returned to Newtownhamilton at the weekend just days after a gang threatened bin men as they carried out their weekly rounds in the area.
Several men confronted the council employees on Armagh Street and at the bottom of Dundalk Street and Blaney Hill last Tuesday.
At one stage the bin lorry was hemmed in by a car before the culprits began to thump the vehicle, while trying to get at the driver.
As a result of the incident, bins in Dungormley, Armagh Street, Blaney Hill, Lir Grove and the Fold were not emptied.
In a statement, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council confirmed there was an incident in the Newtownhamilton area, which has been reported to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), and is currently under investigation.
“The council has arranged for catch up collections to be completed on Saturday, March 10, 2018 in the area affected.
“The council is also planning to complete further recycling awareness in this area and householders are advised to keep their bin out until it has been emptied".
Sinn Fein representative Barra Ó Muirí revealed the attack on council staff comes amid claims that tenants in a leased propety on Armagh Street, have been contaminating their blue bin.
This led to the bins not being emptied and in turn some residents got aggressive, according to the local elected represenative.
“For more than a fortnight, the bins in Dungormley, Armagh Street, Blaney Hill, Lir Grove and the Fold were not emptied because of ongoing issues," he said.
“Council refuse collection staff were also attacked in a very aggressive incident last Tuesday, apparently because they refused to empty contaminated bins".
Councillor Ó Muirí has praised the spirit of the local Newtownhamilton communitty which enabled services to resume in the town.
“There is no excuse for threats of violence on any of our staff, and all right minded people condemn that type of behaviour. "Staff felt they couldn't return to do their work until they felt safe and secure.
“Thankfully, working with the community, the council and the PSNI, the situation is resolved and normal scheduled services should be returned. I want to thank all who worked with me to get to this point," Councillor Ó Muirí added.
The threatening behaviour has also been strongly condemned by the Ulster Unionist Party's David Taylor.
“This unacceptable action was carried out by a number of individuals and has resulted in the removal of the bin collection service in recent days as a consequence of concerns expressed by council staff for their personal safety," Councillor Taylor said.
“This despicable behaviour has caused a situation where the entire local community in Newtownhamilton is suffering through the withdrawal of the refuse collection service and this is an extremely unfair state of affairs," Councillor Taylor added.
A PSNI spokesman confirmed they are aware of an incident in Newtownhamilton, but revealed "no complaints have been made to police at this time".


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