AS Portlaoise is basically a public sector town, it will be more affected than most by the proposed pay cuts to frontline workers in the emergency services.
That was the warning put out at last week’s Portlaoise Town Council meeting in County Hall, when Sinn Fein Councillor Alan Hand called on the government to protect the pay of public sector employees.
“Portlaoise is very heavily reliant on the public sector, with the prison, the hospital, the gardaí,” he said. “Someone on €36,000 who has a family and is working night shifts, these are the people on call.”
Cllr Hand said that paramedics are set to lose €3,500 from their salaries and these are people who doing life-saving work without proper recompense.
“The wrong people are being targeted, these are the people we rely upon,” he said. “The gardaí and nurses are not on spectacular wages.”
“Portlaoise is basically a public sector town and this town will be more affected than others,” said town mayor, Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald.
The Fianna Fail Councillor continued: “It’s removing the bread and butter of Portlaoise, we never got a good industry in the town. Any 32-year-old garda who bought their houses in 2007 would be happy to show their wages.”
Her party colleague, Cllr Jerry Lodge agreed that the government were targeting the wrong people.
“Go after the people who have a lot of money first,” he said.
“There’s an awful lot of anger out there,” added Cllr Caroline Dwane.
“We need our frontline services,” said Cllr Kathleen O’Brien. “These people all have families and high mortgages.