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Public services in jeopardy as thousands of workers set to retire

26 January, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking at today’s Public Accounts Committee Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD expressed grave concerns about the government’s failure to provide a coherent strategy to ensure critical services such as health are not decimated when up 9,000 workers retire from the public sector over the coming weeks.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Each time we ask Government Ministers what will be the real time impact of the public sector exodus over the coming weeks we are told it will all be alright on the night.

“Yet Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin admitted this week in the Dáil that he does not definitively know how many will leave the public sector by the end of February as workers availing of the grace period are required to give just one month’s notice.

“HSE Chief Cathal Magee spoke today about funding available for 400 new mental health workers but when questioned admitted to me that at least 500 current mental health workers, 389 of whom are nurses, will leave the HSE at the end of next month which will result in a net loss of 100 staff.

“The HSE has not hit its staff ceiling with 85% made up of front line workers and at least 3,500 will leave the health sector by the end of next month yet it appears there is no coherent strategy to deal with this reality not only within the HSE but across all Government Departments.

“The HSE National Service Plan for 2012 clearly states that budgetary cost reductions required and accumulated reductions in front line staff will impact increasingly on frontline services. There is no doubt this will be replicated across the State with the projected losses of 1,500 teachers, 730 from local authorities and 297 Gardaí. Up to 9,000 public sector workers are due to leave the service, the majority of whom will be from the front line and will not be replaced.” ENDS

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