Despite assurances to the contrary from Town Manager Brian White, members of Tramore Town Council are convinced their electoral area is getting a raw deal compared with others in the county when it comes to County Council staffing levels.
Figures provided at the Council’s March meeting in response to a query from Cllr Blaise Hannigan show that while Dungarvan, Comeragh (Suir plus Kilmacthomas) and Lismore have staff numbers of 37, 43 and 36 respectively, Tramore has only 28.
But Mr White pointed out that Tramore only had 3 Council depots, compared with 5 and 6 in the other areas and in geographical terms it was also small by comparison.
He said that where possible extra resources had been put into Tramore in the last few years. And he issued a reminder that, as far as Dungarvan was concerned, the Council headquarters was located there, which was significant.
“Tramore is treated the same as any other area”, he assured the councillors who, however, were not convinced.
He referred to a public service staff embargo which applied and also to requirements for a 3 pc cut in Council expenditure this year. And he invited the members to debate the issue at county level with their councillor colleagues, but he was clearly pessimistic regarding their chances of garnering support.
Cllr Hanniganm, stating that Tramore staffing levels were 25 pc down on the other electoral areas, told Area Engineer Jane O’Neill she was performing miraculously in getting so much work done.
Cllr Lola O’Sullivan said she would like the County Council’s Director of Roads and Infrastructure to explain the situation, but the Manager said he had simply inherited the current situation.
She insisted that even in comparison to Lismore, Tramore fared badly. “We’re bottom of the pile”, she moaned.
Cllr Ann Marie Power said that no matter what way the Manager coloured the situation, the figures as presented were inequitable “and outrageously so”, at a time when Tramore’s population was soaring.
Cllr Pat O’Callaghan pointed to the level of development charges emanating from Tramore, but Mr White said they were utilised for other purposes, through which the town benefited. He said too that in such matters, pet capita comparisons were not the most salient.
Cllr O’Sullivan: “We are the premier tourist resort in the south east and that is not reflected in Council staff numbers”.