A south Down councillor has criticised a local authority decision to cancel bin collections in icy conditions citing similar services have continued in war torn Ukraine.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) recalled its waste collection vehicles on Monday (Jan 8) due to extreme ice on roads and paths in the district.
The bad weather resulted in a number of school closures across the district and even witnessed a gritter vehicle colliding with parked cars in south Armagh.
However, Mournes DUP rep, Henry Reilly said: “The recent bin collection was abandoned because of snow and ice, when in the Mournes we were completely free of snow and ice.
“People just can’t understand it.
“I was sent a video today, of a bin collection lorry in Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine, and the bin men were out in a foot of snow and there was Russian rockets landing in the area and they kept emptying the bins.
“I am at a loss to understand how a wee bit of snow or ice that is somewhere else in the district and the council stops bin collection in the Mournes, it is just incredible.
“If it wasn’t bad enough we are making a fool out of ourselves. We are making ourselves look foolish.”
Cllr Reilly added: “If there is snow in south Armagh I can understand closing the service there, but if the Mournes area is completely clear, why not get the crews to concentrate on that area.
“Especially when there is already a catch up to be done, as some have been deferred from the new year period.”
A council officer responded: “Any decision to remove services isn’t taken lightly and is taken after due consideration of obviously the weather conditions.
“The fact that there was an ice warning in place until 10am from 5am, those decisions aren’t taken lightly.
“It is for the health and safety of the employees as well as the risk that large vehicles travelling on small rural roads can have interaction with the public and I would suggest that if we had similar conditions again, we will take the same decision.
“Each time it happens we go through a process of risk assessment before we make any decision.”