MID-ULSTER District Council has hit out at the ‘atrocious’ rollout of road works in Dungannon as a result of the Gas to the West scheme.
A motion brought to the Council’s monthly meeting by the DUP’s Clement Cuthbertson seeking an urgent meeting with senior officals from both Transport NI and the Gas to the West project gained the support of the Council with many in the chamber critical of the current situation.
Brining the motion to the attention of the council, Cllr Cuthbertson asked that the council “requests an urgent joint meeting with Senior Department for Infrastructure Transport NI Officials and Representatives of the Gas to the West scheme, to discuss the serious impact, the road closures, as a result of the ongoing works, is having on traffic in Dungannon.”
Advising council that work started over a fortnight ago, the Councillor revealed that Translink was not even made aware of the rollout until its drivers were unable to get up the road. He also warned that the situation is only set to get worse with the road works set to stay in Dungannon for the next six months at least.
Councillor John McNamee spoke next and informed Council that Cookstown had been beset by similar problems. He advised that the creation of utility meetings on an ‘as needed’ basis helped solve the problems in his town and this idea was also supported by UUP party leader Trevor Wilson.
Cllr McNamee’s party colleague Councillor Dominic Molloy spoke in support of the motion stating that the town is now at breaking point.
“I have no problem supporting the motion,” said the Cllr. “Teachers and parents at this end of the town are in a tricky situation as our children trying to get to school to get their exams done. There is a two/three mile delay. We need to get talking to officials now.
“I know that the installation in Moy had no issues but this installation has been the direct opposite.”
Cllr Kenny Reid also brought the council’s attention to the plight of the farmers caught up in this.
“This goes further that the built up areas,” he said. “The farmers have suffered so much as well. They can’t get their grass cut as the cant get access to their fields and as I understand they wont be able to do so for the next four or five weeks. When a man cant access his own ground there is something badly wrong. The grass needs cut and can’t be left for that length of time.”
Independent republican councillor Barry Monteith also expressed his support for the motion.
“I am fully supportive of this motion and I think it is important to meet the senior officials. At present their is no facility for when things wrong. The curretn situation is atrocious and there is no other way to say it.
“The last meeting we had was a joke, not one senior official was present and only a maintenance man was in attendance, that is not a criticism of him, but he should have been supported at the meeting by his senior officials.”
When it was put to Cllr Cuthbertson to amend his motion to call for a utility meeting akin to the ones established in Cookstown he agreed they could prove useful but didn’t want to amend the motion as he sought to ensure that senior officials attended an urgent meeting with the council.
Council voted in favour of the motion and council officers are now in the process of establishing the meeting.