Council 'unlikely' to sack workers who fixed pothole
THREE council workers suspended on health and safety grounds for fixing a pothole on their own initiative are "highly unlikely" to face dismissal.
The revelation came as it emerged the three middle-aged workers have almost 70 years' experience between them and all boast exemplary public service records.
All three have now been advised by their union SIPTU and their solicitors to make no comment until the Cork Council health and safety probe is completed and its findings are known.
The trio were suspended when Cork Co Council received a complaint from a Health and Safety Authority (HSA) inspector about a traffic management issue on the L2491 Bothar Guidel Road in Carrigaline.
The repair crew were on their way back to their depot when they spotted a dangerous pothole and decided to repair it on their own initiative.
It is alleged they began the repair work without having two staff assigned to stop-and-go traffic duties, as is mandatory.
At first, all three were suspended on full pay. But the men were later suspended without pay.
SIPTU has instructed the three workers not to comment.
"The three members have exemplary service records. That's the information I have. There is no further comment at this time," SIPTU's Con Casey said.
A friend of one worker, who asked not to be named, said the suspensions have had a devastating impact on all three men.
"It is very distressing for them and their families. These are all very experienced and very dedicated workers. They are all now very worried about where this will lead," he said.
Cork county manager Martin Riordan said no further comment could be made given that the investigation was ongoing.
"A number of staff were initially suspended with pay.
"Following an investigation, they were then suspended without pay," a council spokesman said.
But a council source told the Irish Independent that, while not pre-empting the probe, the three men are "highly unlikely" to face dismissal.