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Traffic wardens will defy threats and return to Tyrone town

By Cate McCurry

Traffic wardens are to return to the streets of a Co Tyrone town weeks after one of the first red coats seen in the area for years was threatened.

The parking attendant was subjected to verbal abuse in Coalisland after spending only half-an-hour in the town last month.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Infrastructure (DFI) confirmed that its traffic attendants will be back. Earlier this year it was revealed that, while 77,000 parking enforcement notices were issued across Northern Ireland in 2015, not one had been handed out in Coalisland.

The first visit by wardens took place on August 22, then again on November 10 - although no parking tickets were issued on either occasion.

Sinn Fein Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard stated that during the second visit a traffic attendant and his accompanying manager were subjected to "some verbal abuse from members of the public".

The employees decided to leave the town before they completed their patrol for safety reasons.

A DFI spokeswoman said: "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.

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

DUP MLA Lord Morrow, who was critical of the incident, said he found it "disturbing" that it was not reported to the police.

He added that a number of businesses and residents in Coalisland were angered by the current parking system in the town.

"Once a month is not sufficient, but it's a start," he said.

"If there is an ongoing safety issue with traffic wardens carrying out their duty then the police should be called in to do it.

"We need a town where traffic is free-flowing, accessible parking and where people can stop off and go and do their business and move on.

"They say there is great difficulty in regulating the system.

"It is beyond me why anybody would see that as an issue, but some do.

"Furthermore, when traffic wardens moved in they were bullied out of the town.

"Business and shoppers want regulated parking and enforcement in a common sense manner, like every other town."

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