LIGHTS OUT IN DRUMSURN

Beech Road resident Winnie McAteer (centre) with Michelle Friel of the Drumsurn Community Association and Sinn Fein Colr. Brenda Chivers. INLV4815-061KDR Photo: Ken Reay
Beech Road resident Winnie McAteer (centre) with Michelle Friel of the Drumsurn Community Association and Sinn Fein Colr. Brenda Chivers. INLV4815-061KDR Photo: Ken Reay
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Residents in Drumsurn say they may be left with no other option but to buy their own bulbs for street lights that have been out in the village for weeks.

A number of lights along Beech Road, Drumsurn Road, and in Rushie Park aren’t working, and authorities say they don’t know when they will be fixed.

Michelle Friel from Drumsurn Community Association said it may be time to take action.

“We’ve been having those conversations because we’ve been told there is no money to fix the street lights, it’s that bad,” said Ms Friel, who said neighbours do their best to look out for each other.

“Drumsurn is a rural area, and the estate is very dark anyway, but now it’s so dark in the morning and in the afternoon. We had the security alert last week and now we hear the device lay for five weeks. People don’t feel safe in their own homes at the minute, especially older people in the community who are worried about break-ins.”

Beech Road resident, Winnie McAteer said the street lights need to be fixed urgently.

“It’s scary enough going out when the lights are working but, now when they’re not working, I don’t go out at night at all,” said Mrs McAteer. “The light outside my door isn’t working and it’s scary given what happened last week. My husband walked down to the Community Centre last week and he counted 10 lights out. There are a lot of older people living here and it’s frightening for them when it is so dark. People are living in fear, I can guarantee you that because, after last week, you don’t know who is about.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Brenda Chivers lives in Drumsurn.

“People are concerned about the situation following on from the security alert last week and especially at this time of the year when it gets dark early. I understand there have been budget cuts, but you can’t put a price on safety,” said

Colr. Chivers. “We have a lot of older people living here and members of the youth club use this area and it’s so dark, it’s dangerous.”

Colr. Chivers said should the Community Association have to resort to buying replacement bulbs, “it’s very sad if it gets to that stage”.

“I would appeal to the minister to make funds available for what is an important safety issue,” added Colr. Chivers.

A spokesperson for TransportNI said: “In the current financial situation, the Department for Regional Development can only deliver a reduced skeleton service for road maintenance. This has affected levels of service in relation to routine maintenance services such as gully cleaning, grass cutting and pothole and street light repairs which are being provided on a reduced scale. We are unable to give an exact date of repair for street lighting and other defects.”