Belfast Telegraph

Row after attack on binman sees Armagh collections suspended

By Rebecca Black

Residents in a south Armagh village may stop paying their rates after the council suspended bin collections following an attack on refuse workers, it has been warned.

The situation erupted in Newtownhamilton on Tuesday when council staff refused to empty a blue recycling bin, claiming that the wrong type of waste was in it.

Sinn Fein councillor Barra O Muiri, who is from Newtownhamilton, has called for police to escort bin lorries into the village.

He claimed that on Tuesday a person had been waiting for the binmen and "accosted" one of the workers when a bin was not emptied.

"The man went to grab him and the binman jumped into his cab, so the guy got a few of his mates and they followed the lorry round Newtownhamilton," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The binmen were afraid to get out of the lorry, then a car cornered them in and started hitting the side of the vehicle and all this sort of nonsense.

"Whenever this was reported to me, I contacted the refuse department at the council. They told me they were suspending services to Newtown.

"I told them that there was a risk that the people of Newtown would then suspend paying their rates, because this is a service that comes with paying their rates.

"Not everyone in Newtown was guilty of this, and surely a common sense approach would be to work with the PSNI and local councillors on the ground.

"I will be meeting with residents to discuss recycling and show them leaflets about what should go in each bin. Hopefully we will reach a resolution." Newry, Mourne and Down Council said: "We can confirm there was an incident in the Newtownhamilton area, which has been reported to the PSNI.

"The council has arranged catch-up collections to be completed on Saturday in the area affected.

"It is also planning to complete further recycling awareness and householders are advised to keep their bin out until it has been emptied."

Mr O Muiri said a number of foreign nationals had moved to live in the villge a year ago, and there had been some issues arising from this,

He added: "I have been trying to mediate between them and the local community. There have not been many issues, but the biggest has been around recycling. It all came to a head on Tuesday."

The PSNI said: "Police received a report this afternoon, Friday 9th March, of anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of Dundalk Street, Newtownhamilton, which is reported to have occurred earlier this week."

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