Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland town gets traffic warden at last, but no ticket

By Annamay McNally

Traffic wardens are to be deployed in a Northern Ireland town which hit the headlines after it was revealed not one parking ticket had been issued over a six-year period.

The arrival of a parking attendant at Coalisland in Co Tyrone generated much discussion yesterday.

Eagle-eyed passers-by captured the moment, posting their photos on social media.

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.

Asked for clarification on the matter, a spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure told the Belfast Telegraph that parking attendants are to be deployed in Coalisland one day a month, subject to review.

“There are very few parking restrictions in Coalisland and therefore the Department, up until August 2016, did not routinely deploy traffic attendants to visit the town”, explained the spokeswoman.

“However, following a request from an MLA for enforcement in Coalisland, traffic attendants visited the town once in August and once today.

“On both occasions, no contraventions were found and therefore no Penalty Charge Notices were issued.

 “It is proposed that traffic attendants will be deployed in the town one day per month. 

“A review of the effectiveness and efficiency of this deployment will be carried out over the next few months. 

“An evidence-based decision will then be taken on whether or not to continue with deployment.

“The ongoing safety of traffic attendants is paramount and is monitored on an ongoing basis.”

DUP MLA Lord Morrow welcomed the move, adding that he hoped the arrival of parking attendants in Coalisland would be a “morale booster” for residents and businesses alike.

He continued: “One of my particular concerns is the abuse of disabled parking bays, a sadly regular occurrence in many areas.

“Without proper enforcement it is the vulnerable who suffer — a fact lost on those who much preferred self-regulation and were critical of my previous calls for parity for all towns and villages. The mixed message of parking infringements only being penalised in some areas and not all, must be eradicated.”

In 2014 Lord Morrow called for action over how parking was enforced across Northern Ireland, claiming there was a “big disparity” in the number of parking fines issued from one town to another.

Mid Ulster MLA Linda Dillon said it was important for visitors to the town to be able to park safely so that businesses are able to thrive.

The Sinn Fein representative added: “We do need additional parking in the town centre and Mid Ulster District Council has agreed to look at that.”

Figures released earlier this year showed other towns of a similar size in Tyrone received dozens of parking tickets.

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