Close to 10,000 streets lights across Northern Ireland are not working – with the majority in the southern area.
And the revelation has led to renewed calls for urgent action to address the escalating problem.
According to Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty it is far from acceptable.
The SDLP representative said they had been reporting street lighting faults on an almost daily basis in every part of the constituency in recent times.
He added: “The response has sadly been that due to budgetary constraints, the Department are only providing a limited street lighting repair service with priority repairs focused on emergency repairs, group outages and all day burners, followed by single light defects.
“This is alarming. Adequate street lighting is imperative to provide safe streets, deter crime and anti-social behaviour and crucially provides elderly residents with security and safety and the assurance that they are not isolated and alone.
“In some areas a single light can be 50% of the lighting in a cul-de-sac, so the fact that one light is out makes a real difference.”
Mr McNulty said he had raised the issue with the Divisional Office and was advised this was due to budgetary constraints and until finance became available only a limited repair service would be possible.
He continued: “I subsequently sought an intervention from the Permanent Secretary and sought details as to the extent of the problem.
“To my astonishment the Department have now confirmed that almost 10,000 lights are out at present across the North.
“This is terrible and is a direct result of budget cuts. Last year the street lighting budget was £2.6m and it has been slashed by over a third to £0.9m.
“Do people really think that when you strip out vital financial and human resources from a basic service that it will have no impact?
“This needs to be urgently addressed. In-year bids for additional finances have proven unsuccessful to date but this must change.
“This is not an issue which can wait for a potential new Minister to address. This needs to be addressed now.”
Become a member
Support local, independent businesses by becoming an independent member.Become a member