DUP MLA hits out at removal of traffic wardens in Coalisland

Parking attendants in Coalisland in December

A DUP assembly member has branded a Sinn Féin minister's decision to remove traffic wardens from Coalisland as a "political act of desperation".

Chris Hazzard last week said wardens would not be routinely deployed in the Co Tyrone town after a trial between August and December led to just two warning notices.

Parking attendants had complained of being subjected to "aggressive" abuse and asked for a police escort during their visits to Coalisland.

The infrastructure minister said the town would not be given routine scheduled enforcement "on the basis of efficient and effective use of resources".

However, the DUP Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Maurice Morrow claimed the move was "politically-motivated".

"It is obvious the cancellation of traffic regulation in Coalisland is a politically-motivated decision, coming just as an election is announced," he said.

He said the Sinn Féin minister's decision was a "final political act of desperation to assuage elements within his own party".

Mr Hazzard made the announcement alongside a list of towns in Transport NI's southern division that will no longer routinely have attendants because fewer than 10 penalties have been issued on average per month.

The towns are: Dromore, Rathfriland, Gilford, Tandragee, Crossgar, Richill and Dunmurry.

A review of operations in Transport NI's northern, western and eastern divisions is to be completed and Mr Hazzard said the same criteria will apply.

The minister said his priority was to "ensure the free flow of traffic in towns and cities across the north" and wardens would return to the towns and villages "when need arises".

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