Calls for end to County Council jobs embargo

Calls for end to County Council jobs embargo
Staffing levels at Longford County Council cannot be allowed to sink any lower.

Staffing levels at Longford County Council cannot be allowed to sink any lower.

The warning came from the local authority’s most senior civil servant and CEO Tim Caffrey last week in light of ongoing concerns about steadily dwindling employment numbers.

He said the increasing age profile brought about by the ban on public sector recruitment was already taking its toll.

“There comes a time when you reach a bottom line and we (council), as an organisation, have reached the bottom line particularly in relation to our staff,” he admitted.

Mr Caffrey said, in spite of embargoes being lifted in other public sector areas such as the Gardai, there had been precious little indication of that same directive being afforded to local authorities.

“There is no suggestion the embargo will be lifted. We have to get sanction from the Department (of Environment) for every post.

“I’m disappointed the embargo hasn’t been lifted because the age profile of this council has meant we have had a significant number of retirements,” he said.

Those claims came as a result of a tabled notice of motion from Fianna Fail Cllr Martin Mulleady.

He revealed fears over the council’s ability to carry out outdoor works such as road repairs, salting and other duties reared its head at a Granard Area meeting earlier this year.

The gradual decline in numbers, he claimed, was likely to put added pressure on ground staff over the winter period.

“People are retiring and nobody is being replaced,” he said, prior to calling for a letter to be sent to Environment Minister Alan Kelly.

“The number of road crews in north Longford has halved if not more over the past couple of years.”

Independent Cllr Gerry Warnock said he had witnessed the shortages in staff numbers at first hand.

“There are people waiting for repairs for many, many months,” he claimed.

“There are people (in county council), both indoor and outdoor that are really stretched. There is no point in saying otherwise.”