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Tourists travelling to Newry, Mourne are Down are “inundating” councillors with complaints due to the level of uncleanliness of streets across the district.

Councillor Oonagh Hanlon said she was “constantly” being emailed by tourists about how rundown some towns and villages had become.

The Downpatrick councillor said there was a growing threat the district’s image due to the problem.

The complaints come after weeks after the local authority was slammed for “failing miserably” over perceived mismanagement of waste collection services during the summer months.

During a Neighbourhood Services Committee in last month, councillors said brown bin collections proved particularly badly affected, with residents asking why their bins remain unemptied for as long as six weeks.

Cllr Oonagh Hanlon.

Speaking at a meeting of the full council, Cllr Hanlon said: “I can’t emphasise enough the amount of complaints that I’m getting in regards to the street cleansing in Downpatrick and other villages.

“Myself and Cllr Cathy Mason have received complaints from outside of the district which I find quite worrying. These are visitors that are coming in and they’re feeding back their experience of visiting the likes of Ardlglass and Killough.

“I don’t want that to be the legacy when they leave Newry, Mourne and Down,” added Cllr Hanlon.

“They are really praising us for our heritage and all of the other things that we have to offer but expressing major dismay about the state of the streets so,  when you’re hearing this outside the district then it’s not good.

“These are people that travel across the island of Ireland and yet it’s these areas that they’re visiting and that we look after that are not up to scratch compared to other areas.

“These problems are not going away and the email complaints are actually increasing everyday so, I would like to see more done to address it.”

Acting Director of Neighbourhood Services, Johnny McBride said that the local authority had already taken steps to address the issue by appointing a contractor for the deep cleansing of major towns and villages.

“We have appointed the contractor so that work is actually already underway,” said Mr McBride.

“We have been in some of our coastal resorts at this point so, the intention is to present that schedule at the next (Neighbourhood Services) committee meeting.”

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