Northern Ireland news

Lisburn councillor 'disappointed' with Belfast mayor's recycling centre remarks

Sinn Féin's Daniel Baker said it was "extremely silly" that residents from the Colin area were being excluded
Brendan Hughes

A call by the Belfast lord mayor for residents to be allowed to use reopened Lisburn council recycling facilities has faced further criticism.

Belfast City Council's recycling centres remain closed due to coronavirus safety concerns.

Lisburn and Castlereagh council reopened its depots on Monday, but wants ratepayers to provide photographic ID with proof of address to "ensure only our residents can use our facilities".

Belfast mayor Daniel Baker, a Sinn Féin councillor for the Colin area, said it was "extremely silly" that residents there were being excluded from using Lisburn council's nearby Cutts recycling centre.

"For decades the Colin community has used the Cutts and if they can maintain safe social distancing then why exclude Colin now after all these years," he posted online.

Sinn Féin later said constituents had asked party representatives to seek clarity on using the recycling centre and social distancing measures in place.

"Sinn Féin's view is that recycling centres should not be reopened at this time when the threat from Covid-19 remains high," it added.

Simon Lee, a Green Party councillor on Lisburn and Castlereagh council, expressed disappointment with Mr Baker's comments.

"I appreciate that Councillor Baker was talking about people living in the Colin area of Belfast. However, he has a responsibility to the people of Belfast as a whole and as lord mayor we expect a consistent message from him during this public health crisis," he said.

"People must stay at home except for essential travel. Travelling to use a household recycling centre in a neighbouring council area is not essential travel."

In a further post online yesterday, Mr Baker said: "I expressed concern about social distancing and how Lisburn would enforce their measures safely."

He added: "The Colin area has always used that centre and to put measures in now that excludes is very much silly in my opinion."

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