Wednesday, 14 February 2018

RESIDENTS in Rathfriland were left wondering if someone had forgotten to pay the electric bill last week when the street lights were out for a number of days.

Early last week the majority of street lights on Newry Street and Quaker Green were off, leaving much of the town's main streets in darkness.

The lights remained off for a number of days and a fault was reported in the system to the Department of Infrastructure (DfI).

A DfI spokesperson confirmed that they received a report of lights being out in Rathfriland.

"The department received a report of all street lights out at Newry Street and Quaker Green, Rathfriland at 8pm on Tuesday, 6 February.

"An investigation was carried out the following day and the fault has now been re paired," they said.

There were concerns the darkness marked the beginning of street lights being switched off as a result of financial constraints.

Earlier this year it was revealed that all lights could be switched off by 2020, which was one possible budgetary scenario laid out of the Department of Finance.

The best case scenario would see at least a quarter of the street lights being switched off.

However, the DfI spokesperson was unable to confirm what the future will be.

"The Department of Finance recently published a briefing paper which outlines the impact of a number of future budget scenarios, including impacts on street lighting," they said.

"The consultation on that paper closed on Friday, 26 January. Any decisions on budget allocation will be for a future Minister for Infrastructure."


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