21 November 2008

Trade Union fears that more Council Workers in County Donegal could soon lose their Jobs

The IMPACT trade union has said that as many as 238 contract staff with Donegal County Council may lose their jobs.

71 people, whose contracts are not being renewed by the Council, will lose their jobs between now and the end of the year. (see yesterday's entry on that matter) 49 others are to be let go between January and March of next year.

IMPACT representative Richie Carruthers stated that the situation of the remaining 118 contract workers is currently "under discussion".

Despite the promise of a detailed statement on the matter earlier this week, Donegal County Council has now declared that it will be "making no comment on the situation until after a Council meeting on Monday", when the matter will be discussed further.

Under the new government rules Donegal, like all other local authorities, has to make a saving of 3% on its payroll costs.

Dinny McGinley (left), Fine Gael TD for Donegal South West, described the situation as "a virtual tsunami for the county".
He said that he had been in touch with colleagues in other Irish counties, and it appeared nothing as shocking was happening in these other local authorities.

So one has to wonder why - of all the counties in the Republic - Donegal, home of Tánaiste Mary Coughlan, is making such drastic cuts to its workforce. Could it be that the Fianna Fáil controlled Council has been overspending in previous years and is now running out of money?
Or is the rural county in the far north-west of Ireland just too eager to please the government and in particular Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, who is scraping the bottoms of all barrels in the public sector to find more money for his Budget?

Whatever the reason is, the massive cuts in Council staff will create immense hardship in Co. Donegal, and subsequently also reduce the overall quality of local services, which will affect every person living there.

Fortunately there will be local elections next year, so the people of Co. Donegal - like everyone else in Ireland - will have the chance to make significant changes and send the Fianna Fáil Councillors, who have controlled Donegal County Council for the past 4 1/2 years, where they belong: into private life and the political wilderness.

The Emerald Islander

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