An 85-year-old Derry woman has hit out at the lack of adequate streetlighting near her home and has said she’d even considered paying to repair a faulty light herself.
Pensioner Lily O’Hagan, from Rosemount Gardens says work currently being carried out in the area has left the footpaths near her home extremely dangerous for those who are elderly or vulnerable.
She says several attempts to contact the Department for Regional Development, who are responsible for repairing streetlights, have led nowhere.
“They didn’t seem to care one bit at all. They just kept telling me that I wasn’t the only one complaining. But I feel like a prisoner in my own home when it comes to the evening time.
“I tried to explain to them that it comes on and then goes off again and that it’s dangerous and that it probably wouldn’t take much to fix it but it doesn’t seem to matter. I’d nearly pay for it myself. I just think it’s terrible in this day and age that when you have an area where a lot of older people live, nobody will even fix a streetlight for us. I worked my whole life and I think I deserve a bit better than this.”
At a recent meeting of Derry City Council it was revealed that a staggering 1900 streetlights in the city are currently awaiting repair.
TransportNI’s Divisional Manager for the West Conor Loughrey said that the Department’s “hands were tied” after a succession of local councillors expressed outrage that there was no money to fix the problem.
Various councillors warned that elderly people in particular were being left feeling scared and vulnerable as cul-de-sacs and avenues were left in darkness.
Independent Councillor Darren Reilly said Lily O’Hagan’s situation is disgraceful.
“I’ve known Lily all my life and what she’s getting is the blanket response which is being given out to people across the city. It’s really not good enough at all and it’s leaving people feeling more vulnerable and isolated. People like Lily have worked hard and there are people paying rates who are also being left with no streetlighting in their areas. It’s something which people shouldn’t have to be dealing with, especially those who are elderly and vulnerable.”
Addressing councillors at the recent meeting, Conor Loughrey said the DRD simply did not have the budget to carry out all the necessary repairs.