Calls have been made to re-open Newtownhamilton recycling centre – one of only two in the borough to remain closed during the lockdown.
Slieve Gullion area Councillor Oonagh Magennis has also stated that the opening hours of the all Housing Recycling Centres (HRC) should be extended.
The Sinn Féin representative confirmed that she has contacted the Newry, Mourne and Down Council’s neighbourhood services director requesting that he introduces the next phases of these amenities opening as soon as possible.
“Many people who for instance are now back at work require our Council Household Recycling Centres to reinstate Saturday opening hours in a safe and efficient manner within restrictions as society slowly returns to some sort of normality,” said Councillor Magennis.
“My colleagues Councillors Gerry O’Hare and Barra ÓMuirí, have been inundated with queries surrounding Hilltown and Newtownhamilton HRCs respectively, which are still completely closed.
“We understand there are some safety and staffing issues surrounding HRCs, but the massive rush straight after they were reopened has ended and safety measures should be easier to put in place with a smaller volume of people arriving at once.”
The elected representative said that there were practical solutions to the staffing concerns.
“Those Household Recycling Centre’s that had extra staff for that extremely busy initial period could now be used elsewhere such as Hilltown or Newtownhamilton.
“After discussing these issues with Neighbourhood Services, I hope that in the coming weeks they will be in a better position to move through the recovery phases and reduce any risk to staff.
“Those members of staff who were shielding throughout the worst of the pandemic should be returning to work shortly to assist in services, this is very welcome news.”
Councillor Magennis added: “The bulky waste collection is another service that needs to be restored as soon as possible. This might also help alleviate some of the illegal dumping going on throughout our Council district.
“Neighbourhood Services Department have informed me that it is hoped that this service will be restored in a matter of weeks. It is a much used service and hopefully this will happen.
“Any updates or further information will be relayed to the public once available.”