Winton death points up refuse risk priority

editorial image

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s refuse collection service is one of its “highest priorities” for health and safety checks councillors were told following the tragic death of Limavady binman John Winton in an accident last week.

Members of the Council’s Assurance, Audit and Risk, Committee, were advised by a senior risk officer that the local authority always had to be “on its toes” and “on its guard” when sending its refuse collectors out in the morning and that last Tuesday’s tragedy had brought that priority into sharp focus.

SDLP Councillor, Gus Hastings, raised the matter following a report on a rec ent meeting of the Council’s Corporate Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee.

He said the update was “timely” given Mr. Winton’s tragic death and was assured the safety of Derry’s and Strabane’s binwoman and men was one of the Council’s highest priorities given the nature of the work they complete.

Meanwhile, the committee, were told that the Northern Ireland Audit Office’s (NIAO)recent report raising serious concerns about how The Executive Office (TEO) administered the £93million Social Investment Fund (SIF) had no risk implications for the Council.

The SIF, was launched by the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) in 2011 with a budget of £80m, and has helped fund play parks in the Brandywell, Ballyarnett, Kilfennan and Ballymagroarty and playing pitches in the Brandywell, Corrody Road and at Leafair.

Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly asked if the NIAO report that claimed that the TEO does not hold a clear audit trail for public funding under the SIF had any implications for DC&SDC.

Senior officers advised that it did not and pointed out that the various projects that were funded in Derry and Strabane, under SIF, some of which were delivered by DC&SDC as a lead partner, were not “mentioned at all” in the Comptroller and Auditor General, Kieran Donnelly’s recent report.