Thursday, 9 July 2015

Staffing levels in Wicklow County Council having a detrimental impact on services

Sinn Féin County Councillor and General Election candidate John Brady has expressed serious concerns regarding staffing levels in Wicklow County Council. He expressed the concerns due to a reduction of opening hours of public libraries in Greystones and Bray and the fact that the council office in Arklow had to stay closed to the public last week due to staff levels. Bray also has no Litter Warden and only one traffic warden due to retirements and the positions remains unfilled.

Cllr Brady said “I believe the staffing levels of the Local Authorities in Wicklow have reached an all time low and its now having a serious impact on the level of service to the public. Last week the Municipal District office in Arklow remained closed due to a shortage of staff. The public libraries in Ballywaltrim and Greystones are facing cuts to their opening hours and the Local study Service in Ballywaltrim library is to remain closed until October. Bray also has no Litter Warden as a result of a retirement and only one Traffic Warden”.

“The Public Service recruitment embargo which was introduced by Fianna Fáil has left local authorities staffing levels at a dangerous low. People have had Property Taxes stopped from them under the pretense of it going to provide local services. The bottom line is these services simply can’t be provided to the public who need them. There is no Litter Warden in Bray, which is crazy for the third largest town in Ireland and risks setting back all the excellent work that has been done in recent years. The council offices in Arklow had to close due to staffing levels and now at a time when libraries are needed the most the opening hours have to be reduced. It’s also taking months for housing representations by councillors in Bray to be responded to” continued Brady.

He went onto say “We have people on Job Bridge and other schemes now being employed by Fine Gael and Labour to carry out much of the outdoor work that the council outdoor staff had done before the embargo was introduced. Last year the Government announced an end to the embargo in a targeted way. Is this further depletion of local authority services is what the government consider a targeted way?”

Brady concluded “Fine Gael and Labour need to ensure the filling of critical staffing positions are filled as swiftly as possible so we don’t see any further impacts to the level of service the councils provide the public. The council staff do an excellent job in a very difficult working environment due to the cuts imposed over the last number of years. The public have been forced to pay a property tax on the basis that it funds local authorities and they demand the public services they were told would be provided”.

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