Dungannon is a town still sharply divided by inequality: that’s the message from a local politician who accused the Mid Ulster Council and statutory agencies of abandoning public spaces in the west of the town, and overseeing their neglect.
Independent Republican Barry Monteith said there was a widening gulf in terms of investment and maintenance between areas such as Railway Park and the Black Lough, and the town’s flagship public spaces Dungannon Park and the Hill of the O’Neill.
Deeply galled by the divide, Councillor Monteith said he has constantly raised the ‘issues of maintenance, poor lighting, lack of adequate bins and litter-picking, disrepair and neglect’ with council officials, but to no avail.
“Why are all Council facilities not maintained to the same standards?” he said. “The perception is that unless it is Dungannon Park then Mid Ulster Council, like its predecessor Dungannon Council, is not interested.
“Dungannon Park is a well maintained and well looked after. It is a credit to the Council. We need the same across the area.
“We still await the major expansion in Railway Park first talked about years ago and there is still no development plan for the Black Lough. Various public spaces in the town have benefitted from major investment over the last few years such as Castlehill and Dungannon Park. This is an issue of equality.”
Councillor Monteith said the parks in the west of the town were used daily by large numbers of people and had great potential.
“The Black Lough and Railway Park must be preserved and enhanced”, he went on to say. “Over the years areas like these have been ignored and abandoned by statutory agencies. Basic maintenance is the very least that people should expect. Sadly even this seems beyond the Council. All Council recreational areas and parks must be maintained equally.”