Director of Services (Human Resources) Eoin Doyle.

Council staffing vacancies criticised

Morale within Cavan County Council is said to be “on its knees” because of a shortage of staff.

The Ballyjamesduff Municipal District’s December meeting heard scathing criticism from Councillors over a failure to replace retiring staff or those who have been promoted.

Members were united in their criticism of the situation with the council executive called on to speed up the process of replacing staff. Cllr Shane P. O’Reilly (IND) claimed it was a year to the day since councillors were told the MD would have a full complement of staff by the following February.

“They’re working on a skeleton staff. They’re down six workers. I am sick of it now, it’s put on the long finger all of the time. We’re a bit like the mushrooms with what we’re being fed.”

He also claimed the extra work being taken on by other staff was also having an impact: “Morale in Cavan County Council is on its knees because of the work that people are being asked to do.”

Cllr Philip Brady (FF), who raised the issue, welcomed the funding being provided to the MD area for works and improvements but said there’s no staff to carry them out. “We’re still a long way away from our quota [of staff],” he said.

Fine Gael Cllr TP O’Reilly said it was “very, very unfair” to be ringing council staff about works that are needed “when they don’t have the staff”.

He was equally scathing and critical of the lack of foresight in the Council: “It didn’t come out of the blue that people were retiring. We know it’s happening.”

His party colleague Cllr Winston Bennett said this was an ongoing situation that had been going on for the past four or five years.

“When someone retires, there should be someone there on the next Monday morning,” he said.

Senior executive engineer John McGahern said there were five of six positions vacant in the MD area alone. He said there are staff who can fill those vacancies but this in turn would create vacancies in the General Operative category.

Director of Services Human Resources, Eoin Doyle, said there are panels of prospective staff for all vacancies. He said all General Operative vacancies would be filled in the New Year, something described as feeling like “deja vu” by Cllr Shane P O’Reilly.

Mr Doyle said he would bring a detailed report to the next meeting of Ballyjamesduff MD outlining the number and type of vacancies in the area.

Cllr Brady said it was his intention to bring the issue to a full meeting of the County Council to highlight the issue with the county’s chief executive.