County engineer and director of services Joe Beirne said this week that there will have to be a scaling back of services at the council machinery yard.
Mr Beirne was giving an outline of the roadworks programme for the year at the April meeting of the council when the issue of the yard came up. “There is no one as behind the yard as we are,” he told the members. “My fundamental belief is that we will have to downsize the yard to deal with the winter weather emergency, but to do that we will need only two thirds of the staff. Because of the cut backs in roads projects, we can’t maintain the staff we have there 12 months a year, we already this year had to take €600,000 from our own resources, from ratepayers’ money to keep the yard going.”
While the members debated a number of issues in relation to roads projects, the falling numbers of staff and the lack of overtime for staff to keep working on projects was a constant issue. Fine Gael councillor Peter Flynn raised the issue of having flexi time for the workers. “One of the key parts of the Croke Park agreement was that there would be flexible working time and we are nearly a year on without any action on it,” he said.
“We have an absolute embargo on any staff recruitment and we have very rigid budget controls and an efficiency review to cut 20 per cent across the board,” county manager Peter Hynes told the meeting. “In relation to the flexi time, we haven’t been able to reach an agreement on time in lieu with the unions yet.
“The question of the appropriate size of the machinery yard has still to be decided,” Mr Hynes added.