Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick has condemned the recent attack on Council employees whilst carrying out their jobs in the district earlier this month.
Speaking about an incident which happened in Kilkeel where a refuse collector suffered injury and had to receive medical treatment at Daisy Hill’s Accident and Emergency Unit, she said: “Newry Mourne and Down District Council will not tolerate abuse or aggression towards its employees and will take action where necessary to protect the wellbeing of staff and the integrity of our services. The safety of staff is of utmost importance and they should not be fearful of carrying out their duties at any time.”
Cllr Fitzpatrick added: “Recent incidents involving violence, aggression and verbal abuse against Council staff from members of the public are regrettable, and will not be tolerated on our staff. The Council will work with the police to prosecute anyone who inflicts harm on our officers.”
Cllr Fitzpatrick said while any abuse was a concern, given the number of interactions between Council staff and the public, the level was minimal. “In general, most interactions are positive and professional as our officers deliver high quality services to more than 120,000 citizens across Newry Mourne and Down.
“Over the past two years there have been seven incidents of abuse against our staff, but this is seven too many. I would appeal to all citizens to treat Council employees with respect and dignity whilst they are carrying out their duties. Should members of the public wish to raise their concerns with any aspect of service delivery which is unsatisfactory they should use the Council’s Customer Comments/Complaints Scheme or telephone 0300 013 2233.”
The Council treats all incidents seriously, conducting internal investigations and contacting the PSNI when necessary. Verbal and physical abuse of staff is not acceptable and, in serious situations, the matter is referred immediately to police.
Police were called following the recent incident, and an investigation is now on-going.