Belfast Telegraph

Traffic warden told she will 'roast in hell' during parking confrontation in Co Armagh

Traffic warden speaking with Rev Darryl Abernethy.
Traffic warden speaking with Rev Darryl Abernethy.
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

A female traffic warden was told she would "roast in hell" after telling a Free Presbyterian gospel event that they could not park in a pedestrian zone in Portadown.

A video circulating on social media shows a heated exchange between the traffic warden and those taking part in a Free Presbyterian gospel event in the town centre.

It shows the traffic warden explaining that the vehicle cannot be parked in a pedestrian zone before a man asks her if she would "go down the Garvaghy Road and book cars" and then saying "you will roast in hell, that's what will happen to you".

The traffic warden had explained that the car is on an area that is covered by double yellow lines. During the incident a few people appear to gather around her. She then asked them to move back.

"If you don't step back from me, I will call the police," she said. She then radios a colleague for assistance.

Among those who approached the traffic warden is Rev Darryl Abernethy from Bethany Free Presbyterian Church.

He asks the traffic warden if she would ticket a funeral hearse that was parked there, in which the warden replies: "We don't go near funerals, we don't disrespect the dead."

He said to the traffic warden: "You don't disrespect the gospel open air, for two weeks running, we have done this for 40 years."

The traffic warden then explains to the church minister that in the last six months double yellow lines have been painted and legislation has come into effect that no cars can park in that area.

He then says there has been a car parked in that area for 40 years during the event and says he will "take it up with the relevant authorities".

A Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “NSL is contracted by the Department to carry out parking enforcement duties across Northern Ireland. 

"The Department has only now become aware of the incident and will seek further information from NSL.

"Traffic Attendants have been carrying out parking enforcement duties here for many years and they deserve the same level of respect as any other worker.”

In a statement the Rev Darryl Abernethy told the Belfast Telegraph that for 40 years Bethany Free Presbyterian Church has held open air gospel meetings in Portatown town.

He said: "For forty years a car has been parked by the open air for the duration of the meeting. Until 25th May 2019 we have never been asked to move the car or been issued with a ticket.

"On Saturday 25th May the open air meeting was interrupted by a young traffic warden and we were told to move the car immediately otherwise it would be ticketed.

"I told the traffic warden we would be finished in five minutes but this didn't satisfy her.

"A conversation ensued and I took the wardens number and told her we would take the matter up with the relevant authorities, which we have.

"If the law has recently been changed in relation to parking restrictions in Portadown we will readily comply with them.

"The incident was secretly recorded and posted online without our knowledge. From the footage we have obtained the individual who recorded the incident can be heard cursing the traffic warden, the church and God.

"Since the incident took place it has been brought to my attention that the traffic warden was told that she would 'burn in hell'.

"This comment should not have made in the circumstances and my understanding is that the individual who made the comment is not a communicant member of Bethany FPC.

"We are happy to have the matter officially clarified and will abide by any parking restrictions once they are."

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