‘Skeleton’ service for Transport NI

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Transport NI has been forced to operate a “skeleton service” this year due to budget cuts, a DRD official has conceded.

Network planning manager Cathal Brown acknowledged that due to financial constraints, some “very tough calls” have had to be made in the past year, which has affected services such as grass cutting, weed spraying and street lighting.

Speaking at Mid and East Antrim Council’s latest community planning committee meeting, Mr Brown pointed out that £12.5m has been spent this financial year on road schemes in the borough.

He added that over £700k had been spent in the borough on winter maintenance last year and reassured elected members that the funding is in place for “a full winter service”.

Meanwhile, Cllr Gerardine Mulvenna praised the rebuilding of the sea wall between Ballygally and Glenarm, describing the work as “outstanding”.

Cllr Tommy Nicholl, however, disagreed stating: “We want to try and encourage people to come into the borough and see the sea and it certainly cannot be done now that this wall is the height that it is. I would be calling for that wall to be decreased in size by at least a foot.”

Alderman May Beattie said she had been contacted by numerous constituents about street light outages, which she feared could lead to paramedics not being able to find addresses in an emergency.

Mr Brown pointed out that street lighting was dealt with on a priority basis, with electrical hazards being top priority and single outages down the list.