The work to rule by members of the public sector saw Castlebar Town Council meet last week without a town engineer or assistant in his place. “Because of the industrial action neither the town engineer nor his assistant nor other members will be here,” town manager Seamus Granahan told the meeting. “I suggest that we would have our next meeting during working hours.”
Labour councillor Harry Barrett said that it would be hard to arrange to have a meeting during working hours as some of the members would be working themselves. Independent Cllr Frank Durcan hit out at the action by the public sector unions. “Anyone who goes on strike in this country during this time will cost jobs and all it will cause is inconvenience to those who need services the most,” Cllr Durcan said. “It’s not going to affect those who caused the problems, the banks and Fianna Fáil.”
Cllr Barrett defended the public sector workers and their actions. “As a public sector worker, I know there are lots of people who bought into the dream and are now seeing their wages being cut by 14 per cent this year and by seven per cent more next year,” he said. Fine Gael councillor Brendan Henaghan said it would be difficult to arrange a meeting during the day, but if it had to be done it would.
Sinn Féin councillor Therese Ruane saw merits in changing the meeting time back to earlier in the day for good, telling the meeting: “This is something that we should examine in the long term. One of the main reasons that women don’t get involved in politics is the lack of family friendly hours and having a meeting during the day could change that.” However the members failed to reach an agreement on changing the hours and left the standing orders to remain the same to meet at 7pm on the second Thursday of the month.