The number of outdoor staff now employed by Mayo county Council is at a critical level, and if additional staff are not hired, than Charlestown based councillor Gerry Murray, claims he is fearful that health and safety issues will arise.
The Cathaoirleach of the Claremorris Municipal District, raised his concerns at the monthly meeting of the authority.
Cllr Murray said that over the past decade, 250 outdoor staff in the county have retired and have not been replaced by the local authority, and called for an immediate recruitment of additional staff to ensure that essential works can be carried out.
He and other councillors pointed out that they had allocated funding for a range of outdoor jobs to be carried out, promised constituents that these works would be carried out, only to find there is no one available to carry out the work – and they as cllrs they were taking the wrath of the public on these jobs.
Council official Liam Hanrahan strongly refuted any suggestion by the Cathaoirleach that there were health and safety issues arining due to the shortage of staff numbers. He insisted that a health and safety risk assessment is prepared before any job is undertaken and if there is inadequate staff or equipment on the day, the job is not carried out.
He admitted that staffing levels had fallen but said recruitment is now underway and added that despite the lifting by the government of the embargo on recruitment, nonetheless staff numbers in the local authority are capped.
Cathaoirleach Murray says his concerns remain the same.