North Tipperary County Council is to look for more outdoor staff following its amalgamation with South Tipperary County Council. County manager Joe MacGrath revealed the news to councillors when he attempted to allay fears over how services will be delivered when the councils are united following next year’s local elections.
He reassured councillors that no service would be lost due to amalgamation.
He was responding to a call by Cllr Eddie Moran to keep Templemore Town Hall open to allow people carry out their council business without having to travel to Thurles.
“People are demanding money be spent wisely. I can’t justify spending on up to 15 local area offices,” said Mr MacGrath in reply. “I must ensure funding goes into frontline services and not administration.”
He said to avail of Templemore Town Hall at present, you had to reside within the town boundary, and said the council was “not going to leave anyone abandoned”.
He said the council will continue to provide all the services it currently provides and will be contacting every household in North Tipperary to explain what the changes will mean.
Local areas offices are due to close in Templemore, Roscrea, Newport and Borrisokane under amalgamation.
Asked by Cllr Jim Ryan what he planned to do with the savings and where he thought they could be made, Mr MacGrath replied:
“We will not be duplicating services, for instance, we won’t need to IT departments. Savings are already happening through reduced commercial rates.”
He told Cllr Micheal Lowry he hoped to know where the staff will be serving before the end of the year.
Explaining that 80 per cent of people carry out their business with the council by phone, Mr MacGrath was told by Cllr John Carroll that they needed to look after the remaining 20 per cent.
Cart put before horse
Cllr Seamus Morris maintained that the cart had been put before the horse and rural Ireland was being “asset stripped”.
“How can people be expected to pay taxes when services are being taken away. All the Local Government Reform Bill does is put cuts first, not people,” he said.
Cllr Michael O’Meara questioned what savings would be made as staff would not have to travel to Nenagh.
Cllr Pauline Coonan called on the manager to reveal what services would remain in Templemore.
Cllr Moran’s call to keep staff at Templemore at least one day a week was supported by Cllr Virginia O’Dowd, who said a number of community groupos in Borrisokane are looking at taking over the Borrisokane office.
“Why not have a presence there at least once a week,” she said.