Council struggling to keep staff

Cutbacks have forced county hall into more closures and it is struggling to keep people in jobs.

Cutbacks have forced county hall into more closures and it is struggling to keep people in jobs.

A county council depot in Stradbally is set to close in the coming weeks, as part of the council’s resturcturing plan while a Machinery Yard in Clonkeen, outside Portlaoise also closed last Friday, with the seven employees redeployed to other areas.

The employees from the Stradbally depot are to be redeployed to Graiguecullen and Portarlington. Director of Services, Anna Marie Delaney, confirmed that the council were reviewing the depots.

“Following a review of the area offices, it has been decided to close offices at Portarlington, Graiguecullen and Rathdowney. However, the Council will endeavour to maintain a presence in the areas and, in this regard, various options are currently being explored. With regard to the depots, these are also being reviewed at present,” she said.

“Now the men will have to travel to Graiguecullen or Portarlington to get their orders and then end up travelling back to Stradbally for work. Why not have them meet in Stradbally and get their orders there,” shop steward, Pat McCane said.

Workers in the Clonkeen machinery yard are worried about the future of their jobs.

“This has been on-going since last September. There are seven in the machinery yard but for how long? The guys at the top are safe because they start cutting at the bottom.”

At Monday’s council meeting, director of services, John Daly, admitted that the council were struggling to keep people employed.

“There was no allocation for local improvement schemes this year, and we have no other resources to do the work. We are to the pin of our collar to keep people employed, we’re struggling but there’s no other funding,” he told the councillors.

Cllr Alan Hand asked the manager about closing the depot in Stradbally.

“It’s a shame, because we own the facility,” he said.

The County Manager said they were in the middle of a restructuring process.

“Everyone knows the significant reduction in our workforce. I briefed members on how the council were trying to adapt.

“ There’s a lot of restructuring departments and on-going reconfiguration.

“In response to the significant loss of funding we are restructuring water services, road crews, the machinery yard and staff,” Mr Carey told the members.

He said there had been local impacts to area offices and smaller libraries also.

“It’s an on-going challenge, and there is a due process there of dealing with staff and unions.