It’s emerged Inishowen is being ‘discriminated against’ because it’s the only electoral area in the county being left without a litter warden - because of government cutbacks.
At Wednesday night’s Buncrana Town Council meeting Mayor Padraig MacLochlainn read out a letter from the town’s Tidy Town committee informing him the area’s litter warden’s contract will not be reviewed.
It stated: “Over the years we have been in contact with the litter warden many times and have found him to be an invaluable resource in trying to keep Buncrana and the whole of Inishowen litter free.
“The need for this position to be kept is plainly obvious when you drive through our countryside or any of our towns. The problem of fly tipping, illegal signage and just general little is a problem that groups such as ourselves simply cannot tackle on our own.
“In fact, we are of the opinion that rather than losing our one litter warden assistance should be given to him.
“Local groups such as Tidy Towns and Environmental groups have fought hard to get a litter warden for this area.
“The authority he has to fine offenders and issue warning letters it the only deterrent there is to help us combat this problem. To lose this resource now would be devastating to our work.
“We feel it is imperative that this position is kept and that he is allowed to carry on the work he has started.”
Responding Mayor MacLochlainn said he thought their letter throws the council’s job cut back situation in to ‘sharp focus’.
He told the members: “The litter warden is on a temporary contract and like 300 members of staff he is let go because of government cut backs.
“Their contracts are not renewed if they have worked less than four years. There may be someone that’s worked for three years 11 months and 20 days but if they’re ten days short then it’s not renewed.
“This is an outstanding member of our staff, he’s introduced CCTV and Donegal County Council management have no choice but to let staff go after their contract approaches the end.”
Councillor Nicholas Crossan informed the members this decision now means the peninsula is the only electoral area left without a litter warden adding he believes it’s ‘discrimination against Inishowen’.
Mayor MacLochlainn said he believed there was little the council could do because it’s a directive from Government.
He said: “They (the council bosses) are very disappointed to have to let him go himself but in order to be consistent this is the latest of around 300 staff.
I spoke to other senior management and they were very disappointed to lose this man, he is an outstanding member.
Their hands are tied, the town manager John McLaughlin can’t comment on this. “I can tell you from speaking to senior management that is how they are feeling, I am sure they are very disturbed by the quality of staff they are having to let go.” He suggested the council write to the department asking if there was any avenue for special dispensation to be made.