Simpson accused of meddling in bin issue

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The Sinn Féin Leader on Banbridge Council has called on DUP councillors to remember that ‘council policy is not dictated by the local MP,’ after slating the negative influence of David Simpson on a range of issues.

Councillor Brendan Curran’s comments come after David Simpson called for Banbridge Council to scrap its new bin collection policy.

Meanwhile bin protestors were once againset to gather outside the monthly council meeting on Monday night, and were for ratepayers of Banbridge district to support them and use the opportunity to show their opposition to the scheme.

Councillor Curran expressed his disapproval at Mr Simpson’s comments.

“I think it is important that DUP elected representatives in the council or in the Assembly, do not allow their decision making to be dictated by the electoral fortunes of the sitting MP,” said Councillor Curran.

“David Simpson has made it very clear that he, rather than the duly elected representatives from his party and others, will decide policy for the new council.”

He continued: “In advance of a prearranged review by the council of the current bin trial scheme, the MP has decreed that his party’s policy on bin collections would be ‘heavily influenced’ by a survey carried out online and within a limited number of houses effected by the scheme.

“He should now publish all the findings of the survey and the methodology used, if he really expects his elected representatives to heed his decree.”

Councillor Curran also referred to Sinn Féin’s position on the bin trial.

“Sinn Féin will make a decision based on the evidence gathered from the trial currently being conducted by Banbridge Council.

“We will take into consideration the impact on the rates, the environmental impact and the impact on householders before deciding what scheme is best future-proofed to provide long term environmental and financial benefits, and ultimately will benefit the public.”

Clarifying the SDLP position, Councillor Marie Hamilton said: “We are not interfering with the trial but rather are accepting to go along with it until the results come back.

“Then we will make any adjustments according to whatever comes out.

“Only a small percentage of householders have rang in with any issue concerning the trial, so I am fully prepared to wait until the trial finishes and see what the findings are.”

Questioning if David Simpson is an MP or councillor due to his recent interest in council affairs, Councillor Glenn Barr said a proper strategy needs to be put forward, which will encompass the whole supercouncil area.

“I want to see a proper strategy drawn up for the new council.

“This won’t be an overnight solution, but there needs to be a discussion and it needs to be fine tuned with perhaps two or three different systems operating, for instance in rural and town areas.

“I want to see the figures first before I make a judgement call.”