Officials were 'taken aback' by the number of applications for just 40 jobs
Tipperary Co. Council has received more than 1200 applications for about 40 general operative job vacancies the local authority plans to fill over the next two years.
The huge response to the Council's recruitment campaign was revealed at the local authority's monthly meeting in Clonmel on Monday afternoon.
Pat Slattery, the Council's Director Corporate and Human Resources, told councillors they were "taken aback" by the number of applications.
He said the Council plans to immediately recruit between 15 and 20 general operatives and will recruit about 20 more from a panel of about 100 to 150 shortlisted applicants over the next two years.
Six hundred applicants from the Cashel, Tipperary, Cahir, Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir areas have already undergone first interviews. According to Mr Slattery, the Council will writeout to them in the next week. First interviews for applicants from the Nenagh and Thurles Municipal Districts will take place next.
The Council plans to carry out the final interviews stage of the application process in August/ September.
Mr Slattery praised the quality of the applicants for the jobs. "Many of them have several trades, not to mind one; are very involved in community and voluntary work and have a great knowledge of the Council and a great enthusiasm to join our Council. That is heartening for us," he said.
The jobs the applicants will be filling are ones that are vacant due to retirements and people leaving the Council. They are not additional jobs being created within the local authority, Mr Slattery confirmed to The Tipperary Star.
The local authority's workforce was reduced during the recession because of a recruitment moratorium imposed by the Government on the filling of public and civil service job vacancies. The moratorium was lifted two years ago.
Mr Slattery said some local authorities chose to outsource their recruitment process but Tipperary Co. Council was glad it decided to do the recruiting "in-house".
Fine Gael Cllr Michael Fitzgerald said a huge amount of applicants were going to be disappointed and he urged the Council to find a way of harnessing this opportunity to put these people to work in maintaining villages and small towns around the county.
He said the appearance of villages had suffered because the Council hadn't "the man with the shovel" working in them. Some small towns and villages that didn't have Tidy Towns groups that were struggling. He suggested one worker could be assigned to work in three small communities three to four days a week.
Mr Slattery responded that he would love if Cllr Fitzgerald's proposal was rolled out but it would be subject to the the Council receiving extra funding.
The Council's June meeting took place at the QUESTUM Acceleration Centre at Ballingarrane Science and Technology Park on Clonmel's outskirts instead of the Co. Council's Civic Offices in Clonmel town centre.