Tuesday 13 November 2018

City staff to feel €30m cuts pain

Patricia McDonagh

IRELAND'S largest council is to introduce cuts of €30m which will affect the fire brigade, waste management and other services.

Dublin City Council's savings will come from a 5pc cut across many services, and a 50pc reduction in overtime for staff, it emerged last night.

Head of finance Kathy Quinn said all areas were being looked at to get better value for money out of total €928m budget.

The Irish Independent understands the measures, which will be phased in, will include a €3m cut in the overtime paid to members of the Dublin fire brigade.

Savings of €1m will also be made through the restructuring of the Dublin fire service.

Other staff employed by the council will also be hit hard.

Staff who maintain flats in the city will bear the brunt of a €3.4m cut in their overtime pay.

Overtime paid to those working in waste management will also be hit to the tune of €1.15m.

And there will be a cut of €2m to the waste management fleet.

Reductions in services will include a €2.7m cut in spending on culture such as hosting of events throughout the city.

Exhibitions in the Hugh Lane Gallery will be scaled back and staff levels in libraries will be reduced to basic cover. Cuts to repairs for pools, libraries and archiving will save €80,000.

There will also be a cut of €1.2m to county grants, recreation, insurance and advertising in the housing section.

Ms Quinn said the revenue and spending on services would be kept under monthly review.

"The measures we are taking are prudent. Everything will be kept under review, there are no sacred cows," she said.

Last night Dublin city councillor Daithi Doolan branded the cuts "irresponsible".


He said the responsibility for the budget crisis lay with the developers who have yet to pay over €140m in outstanding development levies, and those businesses who had still to pay their rates.

But city manager John Tierney told the full monthly meeting of councillors that even the planned council spending cuts might not be sufficient.

"We are living in a very, very difficult situation," he said.

The council has more than €2m in bad debts in rates, and income from parking meters has dived by 10pc.

Councillors have already been told of cutbacks to road and housing maintenance as well as restrictions on opening times of council facilities such as recycling centres.

And new borrowing limitations mean that special permission now has to be obtained from the Department of Finance for any contract worth more than €5m.

Lord Mayor Eibhlin Byrne said she appreciated people's concerns but "it is a difficult environment". She added that a serious review would have to be done in June.

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