Cork East TD Pat Buckley has raised concerns over the impact of reduced outdoor council staff numbers in Cobh and the wider East Cork area.
“I have seen dramatic cutbacks now on staff over the last number of years." the Sinn Féin TD said. "Especially when staff retire or get relocated and they just aren’t being replaced.
"It’s not like the town has gotten smaller, the population density, especially in East Cork, is growing. The number of staff is going down over time in the local council. They are stretched to the collar right now. We need the local lads back. It doesn’t make sense to cut back on outdoor staff. They are out today salting the country roads and housing estates, but it’s very hard to shovel snow and grit roads when you don’t have the resources.”
With Cobh set to welcome over 100 cruise liners to its port in 2023, he said the people of the town fear that failing to replace staff will cause the Cork town to lose one of its largest sources of income.
“The cutbacks are detrimental to tourism. Cobh is Ireland’s premier cruise liner terminal and concerns have been raised that if these proposed cuts to council staff will mean that litter bins may not be emptied at a sufficient rate and rubbish could accumulate. This would have a disastrous effect and would destroy our reputation,” Mr Buckley said.
He stressed that the 'local foreman and the staff are going above and beyond but more cutbacks will make it impossible'.
Mr Buckley has raised his concern with the Department for Housing, Local Government and Heritage. In an email to Darragh O’Brien TD, Buckley asked the Minister to ensure that a full complement of staff be returned to Cobh Municipal of District Council and that the tourism trade for East Cork is protected.