After getting what he called 'the runaround' from various agencies Newry, Mourne and Down Councillor, Charlie Casey has called for a “Local Area Agreement” which will encourage Agencies such as the Housing Executive, Roads Service and Council Departments to work together.

The Newry Councillor had been trying to establish the ownership of an area at Helens Terrace in the City which needed maintenance carried out.

Cllr Charlie Casey at Helen's Terrace
Cllr Charlie Casey at Helen's Terrace

“I approached the Council requesting work be carried out, following a written request for clarity on the situation, a council official stated that the Council had no ownership of the land, Sinn Féin then contacted the Housing Executive by letter, who also stated they had nothing to do with it. A similar letter was sent to Roads Service and the same response came from them. Bottom line is that no Agency wants to take responsibility for the area”.

Cllr Casey spoke of how people are fed-up at being passed from agency to agency and department to department in an administrative nightmare. "We end up with “Limbo” areas and eventually unsightly dangerous spaces. The time for passing the buck, and giving the run-around has to stop. It is costing money and people’s time”

The Newry Mourne & Down Councillor stated that he intended asking the Council to lead the way in tackling this problem.

Cllr Casey concluded “There is a better way. A Local Area Agreement between Council and key Agencies such as Housing, Water, Roads, Electric and Gas is needed. An audit should be done if the “limbo” areas such as in Helens Court, where ownership can be established and an agreement can be made as to what Agency will take responsibility for maintenance and care of the space. It is a simple enough request, cost effective and will ultimately be to the benefit of the communities we serve. I will ask the Council to convene a meeting with all relevant bodies and Officers so that this initiative can be discussed and developed".

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