MAYOR Noel Keelan has warned that the loss of staff in local authorities in Monaghan will damage their front line services to the public.
Speaking to the Monaghan Democrat, Mayor Keelan said that while the move to cut staff may be a popular move, it will have a detrimental impact to services to the community.
“While this move is a popular one, and there is a need to reform the service, and to become more cost effective and efficient, at the end of the day it is the general public who could suffer.”
As many as 20 people could leave the civil service in Monaghan through a incentivised retirement scheme which the Government have tabled.
“Over the last two, three, four years the council has lost staff due primarily to the moratorium on hiring staff, staff retirement, short term contracts not being extended and a lack of replacements for people on maternity leave.
“My concern would be that the loss of frontline staff, the loss of experienced staff members, will lead to the local authorities no being able to provide the service that the public need.
“In some circumstances there simply aren’t enough staff to carry out the services that are needed. People should remember that Carrickmacross Town Council does a huge amount more work in the community then what was being done 10 to 20 years ago.
“We are involved in the St Patrick’s Day Parade, the June Bank Holiday Festival, the fireworks display, not to mention the support offered to community groups, Chamber of Commerce, sports groups and the Tidy Towns committee. If too many staff are lost these supports are going to be effected.”
Mayor Keelan says the most vulnerable people such as the disabled and people who are the housing list will also be hit by a loss of staff.
“In the past it might be the case where you could ring the Housing Department and there would be four people working there, dealing with issues. Now there could be one, and they could be hard to get.
“People forget that in many cases the local authority is the first port of call when there is a problem: be it sewerage, water supply or whatever.
“It’s going to be hard to deliver these services with an ever shrinking number of staff,” concluded Mayor Keelan.