SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has expressed disappoint- ment following the Department for Infra- structure’s (Dfi) response to requests for street lighting repairs, citing “severely reduced” funding resulting in a restricted maintenance service.
Currently DfI can only prioritise “electrical and structural emergencies” or “group outages.”
The Foyle MLA commented: “After high- lighting numerous street light outages throughout the city, DfI have informed me that due to budgetary and resourcing pressures effec- tive since October, only emergency requests can be prioritised at this time.
“Evidently, financial constraints are restricting services throughout the Department’s Western division. In August this year, I received a similar response in relation to urgent gully maintenance for Eglinton.
“Whilst there is no question that the Department is struggling under a heavy workload and increasingly diminishing resources, given the darker winter evenings, it is completely unacceptable that repairs for street lighting cannot be secured. And as a result, residents’ feeling of safety and security within the areas in which they live, cannot be safeguarded.
“I have been told there is currently an accumulated backlog of defective lights, which cannot be addressed until resources become available. This is unfortunately a typical response of late and serves as yet another example, albeit comparatively minor, of how the lack of an Assembly is impacting the workings of people’s daily lives.
“Whether it’s street-lighting or hospital waiting lists, the ability to access services continues to deteriorate.
“Resolving the smaller matters affecting our cities and towns is vital if we are to tackle the larger issues affecting the North.
“The public are fedup with the lack of delivery - we can’t dance around a return to government any longer. People care about sorting issues on the ground; to have functioning street lights, to access services as and when needed.
He concluded: “Purported red lines are of little to no consequence when we can't deliver on the basics."
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