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Traffic warden forced to flee Northern Ireland town after threats

By Annamay McNally

Published 16/11/2016

The traffic warden on the streets of Coalisland last week
The traffic warden on the streets of Coalisland last week

An investigation has been launched after one of the first traffic wardens seen in Coalisland in years was threatened.

The parking attendant spent just 30 minutes in the Co Tyrone town last week before allegedly being hounded out.

The Department for Infrastructure confirmed it was investigating reports of "an incident".

Officials have asked for a risk assessment to be carried out.

After figures showed that not a single parking ticket had been issued in Coalisland in three years, the appearance of a traffic warden in the town last week caused quite the stir.

The department confirmed officers had visited on two previous occasions without issuing penalty charge notices.

Asked about reports that a warden was subjected to threats or suggestions of violence, a department spokesperson said a review would take place.

"Following reports of an incident involving the department's traffic attendants when carrying out their duties in Coalisland, a review of their deployment will be carried out," they added.

"Officials from the department's Parking Enforcement Unit have instructed their service provider - NSL Services Ltd - to initiate a risk assessment related to the enforcement operation."

Mid Ulster Sinn Fein MLA Linda Dillon said it was disgraceful that a traffic warden had been threatened.

"I would not stand over any threats being made to people who are carrying out work that they are paid to do," she added. "They are not being paid any extra in relation to commission, and the fact that they have been out in the town on three different occasions in three different months, but haven't issued a single ticket, is proof enough that they are certainly not over zealous in any way, shape or form.

"There is no excuse for anybody who is simply going out to do their daily work to be threatened in any way.

"These traffic wardens are people with families and will only issue a ticket if someone is parked illegally."

DUP MLA Lord Morrow previously said he hoped the arrival of parking wardens would be a "morale booster" for Coalisland.

He added yesterday that the warden's withdrawal "demonstrates a placation of thug mentality". "Having welcomed the deployment of traffic attendants in Coalisland less than a week ago, it is regrettable so soon thereafter to be condemning those whose intimidatory actions have rubber-stamped their refusal to accept parity with other areas," he stressed.

"I can't fathom why there is such a hang-up with some members of the Coalisland community in relation to parking regulation.

"They clearly have no concern for the disabled and infirm who cannot access the designated parking areas.

"Or for emergency services, who need a route which is not cluttered with carelessly parked vehicles in order to reach sick or injured people in time, or address issues of potential danger.

"It is deplorable that traffic attendants have been subjected to such behaviour and safety is the priority."

Officials planned to deploy traffic attendants in Coalisland one day a month, with a review to be carried out over the next few months.

Belfast Telegraph

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