Red coats returning to Coalisland after abuse

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Red coats returning to Coalisland after abuse thumbnailA Traffic Warden on a brief visit to Coalisland recently.

TRAFFIC Wardens are set to return to Coalisland. Following official confirmation that a traffic attendant was subject to verbal abuse in Coalisland, the Department for Infrastructure has confirmed red coats will return to the town.

Speaking to the Courier, a spokesperson for the department confirmed that its traffic attendants will not be deterred on law enforcement.

"The department will continue to deploy traffic attendants to the town to carry out their duties in order to complete a review of deployment to Coalisland," said the spokesperson.

"The frequency of the deployment will be at a minimum of one visit per month on an irregular basis."

Traffic Attendants were deployed to Coalisland on the 22nd August and on 10th November this year.

No problems were recorded on 22nd August. However, Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has confirmed that during a patrol of the town on 10th November, a traffic attendant and his accompanying manager were subjected to "some verbal abuse from members of the public".

The Minister confirmed that on this occasion the attendant and his accompanying manager invoked their "conflict avoidance" training and withdrew from the town prior to the patrol being completed.

Neither the attendant or the manager report the matter to the PSNI.

Coalisland, which has a population almost 5,000, has been described as a parking ticket "not-spot" with no tickets issued within the past four years.

This contrasts sharply with other towns across Mid-Ulster.

From January 2013 - October 2016, motorists in Aughnacloy received a total of 17 parking tickets, while Donaghmore motorists received 49.

Fivemiletown, with a population of 1,500, saw 216 tickets issued across the same period.

These figures show a blatant proportional disparity in rural towns' parking enforcement, claims DUP MLA Maurice Morrow.

"Disproportionality on this scale becomes an equality issue," Lord Morrow told the Courier.

However, reflecting on the department's plan to send a "red coat" to the town, Linda Dillon MLA questioned whether this was the best use of its budget.

Stated the Sinn Fein representative: "This deployment will allow the department to find out if that resource is needed in the town.

"However, given that not one ticket has been issued so far, I would question whether this is the best use of resources."

The Sinn Fein MLA also stressed the need for more parking in Coalisland town centre.

"Mid-Ulster District Council is actively seeking additional parking spaces in the town centre," she told the Courier.

"We have a good town centre in Coalisland and I want to see more businesses in the town, particularly on the main street.

"To ensure these businesses come, we need to ensure people can park easily in the town."



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