Traffic wardens to leave Coalisland and seven other towns
TRAFFIC wardens are to leave Coalisland and some other towns in the north because too few parking tickets have been issued.
Infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard announced yesterday that a list of towns in Transport NI's southern division will have no attendants because fewer than 10 penalties have been issued on average per month.
In addition, Coalisland, where traffic wardens have complained of "very aggressive" abuse and asked for a police escort, has been removed from the list.
Mr Hazzard said during a trial in the Co Tyrone town between August and December last year, only two tickets were issued.
Wardens complained that carloads of youths had followed them and shopkeepers, pedestrians and motorists had hurled "large amounts of abuse" as they patrolled Coalisland.
The other towns where traffic wardens will no longer operate are: Dromore, Rathfriland, Gilford, Tandragee, Crossgar, Richill and Dunmurry.
A review of parking operations in Transport NI's northern, western and eastern divisions is to be completed and Mr Hazzard said the same criteria will apply.
The Sinn Féin minister said his priority was to "ensure the free flow of traffic in towns and cities across the north" and wardens will return to the towns and villages listed "when need arises".
"In order to maximise effectiveness and efficiency, traffic attendants are deployed to those places where they will have the most impact upon road safety and traffic progression," he said.
Commenting on the removal of wardens from Coalisland, Mr Hazzard said a parking trial in the town had been completed and "on the basis of efficient and effective use of resources, Coalisland will not have routine scheduled enforcement".