A Sinn Féin councillor has accused the media of taking “cheap shots” regarding the ongoing issue surrounding missed refuse collection in the district.

Erne North politician John Feeley made the remarks during a debate on Tuesday evening meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

He made the comments after Ulster Unionist Erne West Councillor Mark Ovens raised the issue of missed routes for refuge collection and alleged that staff are on the receiving end of negative feedback.

Councillor Feeley referenced both the media and other members of the chamber and said: “Members have to be mindful that what they say has an impact on what residents in our council area are thinking and it is very frustrating when bins aren’t lifted, it’s a quarter of our budget basically goes on waste and recycling.

"There is an onus on us all to get this right but if members constantly speak on this subject without fully realising the impacts [of speaking out] , they shouldn’t be coming back in complaining about the impacts.

“I have seen on [social media] posts by some members that some councillors do not take this seriously and you should go and speak to those members. It's playing cheap political football and it really is the members and staff who work for us as councillors who are really coming under pressure here.

He added: “Some in the media are taking cheap shots at us as well, but it's what real leadership is about that you work with the council workers and officials to try and get this [sorted].”

The comments came after Councillor Ovens called for support from all councillors towards the refuge team on the ground.

He said: “I know the staff on the ground would appreciate the support from the 40 councillors within this chamber, [to recognise] that it is not the fault of the waste management teams on the ground.”

He alleged that staff had contacted him with their concerns around staff welfare and raised the issue during the meeting which Chief Executive of the Council Alison McCullugh said is “directly contrary to the code [of conduct for councillors].”