Did the Public Sector Embargo make flooding damage worse in Cork?

11 January 2015
By Elaine Murphy
elaine@TheCork.ie

Sinn Féin General Election candidate, Cllr Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has called on the Government to end the Public Sector Embargo, saying that it has and will continue to restrict the Council’s ability to respond to flooding events.

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Speaking at today’s County Council meeting, Cllr Ó Laoghaire said;
“The Government has made a big play of saying that resources are not an issue when it comes to this flooding. That is clearly not the case, when you consider that Flood Relief Schemes such as in Bandon, and Glenbrook, Passage West, have been delayed due to lack of funding.”

“But where the lack of resources available really becomes abundantly clear is in relation to staffing. The Chief Executive commented on the radio recently that he felt he had adequate resources. While the CE is restricted in his ability to criticise Government, given how far back Cork County Council is in relation to outdoor staff, that is difficult to credit.”

“The reality is that Cork County had 1,285 outdoor staff in 2008. By the end of 2014 figure that figure was down by 32%, to 878. Clearly this has had an impact on the Council’s ability to respond to emergency queries and to flood risk situations. While much was done, and I wish to credit the County Council’s staff for their hard work, as well as the communities, clearly there were shortfalls, and ultimately this comes down to resources. The Council cannot do it all with the staff it has.”

“I am calling on the Government to do away with the embargo once and for all. It has always been a blunt tool, was often a false economy, and is now restricting the ability of Councils to respond to crisis situations. The embargo needs to be ended, and soon.”

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