A South Down Assemblyman has defended a monthly black bin collection locally and hit out at councillors who voted against it last month, saying the system “actually worked”.
The Independent Assemblyman said he had initially been opposed to the policy but said he had been “proven wrong”.
There had been fears that residents across Armagh City and District could see the fortnightly bin collection cut back to just one lift a month.
It had been an unpopular direction taken by Banbridge District Council as a trial, and the authority there came under fire and a local protest group had been established, under the umbrella of the Bin Action Group.
Fears locally had been that the trial would be rolled out across the entire new jurisdiction of the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, when it took over last Wednesday, April 1.
But as Armagh I revealed, at a meeting of the strategy committee of the new ACBCBC Council last month, it was recommended the pilot scheme be discontinued, with residents living in Banbridge District reverting back to the fortnightly refuse collection service.
Now the South Down MLA John McAllister said it was wrong to scrap the trial system, saying it had saved Banbridge Council more than £500,000 over the cost of the average performing Northern Ireland council.
Indeed, he said he would continue to fight for its introduction, describing its scrapping as “a real disappointment and a worrying example of the misplaced populism of much of our politics”.
Writing in today’s News Letter, Mr McAllister said: “Despite the overwhelming evidence that this policy is broadly supported and in the interests of the common good, the new ABC shadow Council, under pressure from the DUP and others, decided to halt the policy and have no doubt killed it off going forward.
“Instead of being a shining light of progressive politics, Banbridge District Council and Banbridge ratepayers have been sacrificed on the altar of our shallow politics.
“Being a politician cannot be about solely listening to those who shout the loudest; it must be about evidence-based policy, in the interests of the common good and showing leadership.
“If the pattern of Northern Ireland politics was the historical norm in the UK and Ireland we would be in a sorry state indeed.
“As a ratepayer in Banbridge, with a family of five with three small children, I was initially sceptical about the once a month policy change – I was proven wrong and I am happy to fight for its retention because it is a good policy, regardless of the opposition.”
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