Wednesday 21 March 2018

It's simple - council needs more staff

Mayor fears the town won't be ready for the 2018 Fleadh Cheoil

Hubert Murphy

Mayor Pio Smith has made a call for more staff to be deployed to Drogheda in preparation for the Fleadh Cheoil next year, stating that the present numbers just can't cope wth the workload and the wide area that needs to be covered.

"'In Drogheda there are 270 litter bins and 70 dog litter bins, compared to just 70 bins in Dundalk. However we don't have the staff to adequately maintain the bins on a daily basis. Some staff are deployed to town sweeping duties, however they are restricted to starting at 8am by an outdated agreement regarding cost savings. The town needs to be swept from 7am on and this should include housing estates. The Bring Banks and cleaning up areas of illegal dumping is a significant drain on staff resources. The paths and alleyways of the town have not been cleaned since Joe Gallagher retired. In all there are only 14 staff to look after all of this,' he stated.

And while he commended the actions of local volunteers who have taken to cleaning areas themselves, he feels it shouldn't be down to individuals to take on the burden.

"There are 5 staff looking after the parks, the planting and watering of flowers, getting beddings ready and maintaining same, inspections of playgrounds, skateboard parks, Dominick's Park, and trying to manage the various steps and laneways of the town. In the past the Local Authority would hire temporary staff to help out with this work, however this dosen't happen anymore. Also, 13 staff look after road maintenance, footpath repairs, drain cleaning, helping with festivals, street furniture and signage and this includes the overall South Louth area.

'Recently we have seen local citizens cleaning up parts of the town such as St Mary's Abbey and the High Lane steps and while I admire and commend these people it shouldn't be left to them alone to ensure that our town is clean and presentable for both townspeople and visitors to enjoy.'

He feels Drogheda won't be ready to host the Fleadh in 2018 or 2019 if more staff are not hired.

'The town is not flat, it is built on hills and there is a network of laneways and steps that require constant maintenance. Many people have expressed to me their disgust that many areas of the town have been allowed to become overgrown with vegetation, we can even see trees growing out of the Thosel and other buildings in the town centre. I will be arranging a meeting with the Chief Executive of Louth County Council to discuss this further.'

Drogheda Independent