RESIDENTS in Pomeroy are being left out in the cold over an “operational conundrum” which sees responsibility for clearing snow in the village split.
According to local councillor Cathal Mallaghan, Pomeroy is being “split in two” when it comes to whose job it is to clear heavy snow from its roads.
The Sinn Fein representative says that on Friday when roads became treacherous after heavy snow, only a small section of the village was cleared.
He said a truck sent from Road Service’s Omagh depot cleared snow and ice in the Diamond area and left again despite one of the villages most steepest and busiest roads needing cleared.
“Responsibility for the village lies with Magherafelt, but on snow days the village is split in two,” Councillor Mallaghan told the MAIL.
“The Omagh truck comes into Pomeroy and clears snow around the Diamond and then heads back to Omagh.
“This meaning that even though the driver of the truck can see the mayhem in one of Ireland’s steepest streets, his orders are to return without ploughing and gritting.”
Traffic grounded to a halt on Friday inside the village. At one stage vehicles were queued for one mile from the bottom of Pomeroy Street to the Bawn Orange Hall.
Councillor Mallaghan added: “The fact that this situation can be rectified so easily boggles the mind.
“I just cant believe that a snowplough comes right into the village and leaves without clearing the hill. Its beyond shocking.” “Pomeroy which is the highest village in Ulster at 800 metres above sea level gets horrific weather and when there is no snow anywhere else, its still here. On Monday morning grit boxes where still empty around the parks and estates.”
The Sinn Fein councillor says he has questioned Road Service on its policy and has been told contact has been made with the offices in question.
“I would like to pay tribute to the men and women who go out and plough the roads in what is a very dangerous job and is often done in unsociable hours but the problem here is with management,” he said.
“I hope to get a response very soon which allows the hill on main street to be ploughed by whatever truck is available.”
Responding to Councillor Mallaghan’s comments, a spokesperson for Road Service said the village sits close to the boundary of both Omagh and Cookstown council areas.
The spokesperson added: “Similarly the Roads Service Section Boundary between Omagh Section and the Cookstown & Magherafelt Section lies on the outskirts of Pomeroy.”
“To maximise the efficiency of our gritting schedules the Omagh gritting schedule includes the area into the western end of Pomeroy as far as Lime Hill Road. The remainder of Pomeroy main street is served by the Cookstown gritting schedule.
“It is not unusual that both lorries would be in the town at the same time as they proceed on their predetermined scheduled routes,” they said.