Kerry councillors hit out at lack of outdoor staff as roads have 'more potholes than road'

Kerry’s roads are “more potholes than road” in many places, Kerry County Council has heard.

Fine Gael councillor Mike Kennelly said five outdoor staff in the Listowel area were due to retire shortly and there had already been a reduction in their numbers since 2008. Money allocated to councillors for roads was not being spent because the staff were not there to do the work, he said.

Killarney area councillor Danny Healy-Rae said there had been six crews in the Killarney area previously but now there were just two.

He said this was at a time when when ratepayers and taxpayers were paying more tax than ever between property tax, water tax, and charges. Roads were closed because the staff were not there to do even two days work to reopen them, he said.

“Not one of the workers who were at the coalface in 2008 and who have left have been replaced. We have the same amount of chiefs but way less Indians,” he said.

Ballybunion Sinn Féin councillor Robert Beasley said the bad condition of the roads was certainly as a result of water but it was also as a direct result of Government policy in cutting staff.

Independent councillor Johnny Healy-Rae said it was a simple fact there were now “more potholes than road” in many parts of Kerry.

Johnny Healy Rae
Johnny Healy Rae

The county council’s chief executive, Moira Murrell, said there had been a 20% reduction in Kerry County Council staff outdoor and indoor since 2008.

The council did not have anywhere near the staff numbers required, but critical positions were being filled, she said.

The recent budget meeting heard how, of the €125m the council will spend in 2016, almost half (€63m) will be on staffing element. Payroll costs, including travel and subsistence and pensions, accounts for the biggest single expense for Kerry County Council. The council employs 1,249 people and some are part-time.


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