Row erupts over removal of Bessbrook bus shelter

February 12, 2018

The removal of a partially constructed bus shelter in Cloughreagh Park in Bessbrook has sparked a row amongst Councillors and has left many residents in the area “fuming”.

The decision to remove the bus shelter was ratified at last Monday night’s Council meeting after being proposed at a Regulatory Technical and Services meeting in January.  There were angry scenes in chambers as councillors clashed over the decision, with Sinn Fein representatives accusing the SDLP of conspiring to have the shelter removed on the basis it was a Sinn Fein led project.

Sinn Féin Councillor, Roisin Mulgrew, who made the request for a bus shelter in the area on behalf of local residents, said the decision to remove the shelter has left many locals “angry and bewildered”.  

Councillor Mulgrew explained that it was only after the shelter had been erected to serve the Cloughreagh and Kennedy Park estates that a petition was received raising concerns of anti-social behaviour.

She said a number of meetings were held with and various agencies and the PSNI who confirmed that they were unaware of any such incidents at the shelter.  The Council Chairperson added that a local youth group had carried out an independent survey showing that 108 out of 123 homes in the area were in favour of retaining the shelter. 

She said councillors who voted for its removal had “completely ignored” the survey and additional letters of support from older residents with mobility issues as well as the parents of young children whose only access to travel is by public transport.

“To deny our most vulnerable, the old and young families, access to protection from inclement weather whilst they wait on a public service with unfounded claims of anti social activities is nothing short of a disgrace,” added Councillor Mulgrew.