Recycling staff no help at all

SIR, – Last week I had cause to visit Downpatrick’s household recycling centre on two occasions.

During both trips I asked some of the Newry, Mourne and Down Council staff on duty to help me lift items out of the car boot, but they informed me that they were not permitted to do so as a result of Covid-19 regulations.

While I very much understand the need to be careful, practise social distancing and ensure good hygiene, I can’t help but feel that the need for some good old fashioned common sense is lost on people at times.

On my first trip, I was transporting some carpet that was left over after having a room redecorated. It was packed into three bin bags. I should perhaps explain at this stage that I am 81.

I asked the council staff to help me with the bags, but they informed me that this was not possible and directed me to where I needed to go. Reluctantly I did this and was able to unload the carpet.

On my second trip to the Flying Horse Road facility, I had parts of a shower that was removed from my home.  I had a stainless steel frame and glass door and asked council staff to look in the boot to see if this waste was acceptable. But they told me that they couldn’t do so due to Covid-19 regulations.

Once again I was directed where to go but before driving off I asked if it was possible for one of the staff members to give me a hand. I was told ‘no’ and proceeded to the allotted skip and was concerned as the shower door and frame were quite bulky.

Fortunately, a man who was also emptying waste into a skip kindly gave me a hand and I am so grateful for his intervention.

As a senior citizen, I was confined to my home for three months and am very much aware of the need to be careful while out and about. 

I fully recognise that everyone has to be careful, but for Newry, Mourne and Down Council to direct staff not to help people using household recycling centres, especially the elderly, is beyond me.

In my book, a healthy dose of common sense never hurt anyone.

Lockdown restrictions are easing across the district but it if you are planning on using a household recycling centre, don’t be banking on any help from local council staff.

Yours etc,



(Name and address supplied).