Budget blamed for lack of maintenance

Alderman Arnold Hatch.
Alderman Arnold Hatch.

The gardens of elderly residents in Portadown have been invaded by noxious weeds and briars due to a lack of maintenance work by Translink, says a local UUP councillor.

Alderman Arnold Hatch has asked to meet officials from Translink for the past three months without success over the issue.

He said the offending briars and noxious weeds are impinging on to the back gardens of senior citizens living in bungalows at Park Road.

Councillor Hatch said: “ The last e-mail I received from a PR (public relations) person was on 4th December 2017 stating planned cuts on the embankments after Christmas on the Newry to Portadown line but not the area in question ie. the Portadown- Lurgan section .

“This is not good enough,” said Alderman Hatch.

“The long-suffering residents have waited long enough and deserve respect and a response.

“Residents, many of whom are pensioners risk getting caught in the briars and sustaining injury.

“This may seem unimportant to Translink but these residents are customers as well.

Alderman Hatch said: “My last email was to Mr Gerard McAtarsney on 23 Rd February 2018 copied to May Orr again with no reply or phone call to date.”

However it is understood that Mr McAtarsney was on annual leave.

A Translink spokesperson said: “Safety is our number one priority.

“Due to difficulties with revenue budgets, only safety critical works can be prioritised.

“We undertake regular trackside maintenance to ensure the safe passage of trains.

“We are aware of this issue and have been in correspondence with Alderman Hatch to appraise him of our position,” said the Translink spokesperson.