ADDITIONAL STAFFING RESOURCES will be in place in coastal parts of Co Clare for the summer season, including an additional traffic officer for Doolin.
Last year, major tourist sites in the county received additional resources, including beach ambassadors, temporary general agents and contract cleaners, as needed. The beach attendant positions have already been advertised by Clare County Council and the application window is now closed.
West Clare Municipal District Acting Chief Executive John O’Malley confirmed: “Plans are in place for additional resources to be provided along all of our main beaches from Fanore to Kilkee. An additional traffic officer is to be provided for Doolin Pier and Village and key locations in North Clare for the 2022 main season”. He said they were continuing to work with the local authority’s human resources and finance sections for an expected increase in visitor numbers this summer.
Cllr Shane Talty (FF) and Cllr Joe Killeen (FF) urged Council to be prepared with regards to staffing for the 2022 summer season. “We had unprecedented visitor numbers in 2021 and everything indicates that 2022 will see even greater numbers of visitors,” said Talty, he was confident the local authority was prepared this time around as opposed to the “reaction mode we were in last year.”
The work of the Beach Ambassadors in cleaning their respective areas each night has been praised by Cllr Killeen for helping to make a positive impression on visitors.
Board resources were a concern for Cllr Ian Lynch (IND). “Our people work extremely hard, there is a lot of work to do. Without resources we cannot function as a council, we are overburdened and we cannot do the job”. He identified the likes of Malley, Alan Kenneally, John Lynch and Leonard Cleary as staff members who respond to emails at 11:30 p.m. at night, “I’m aware of this because I’m afraid HR isn’t, your work ends at 5 p.m. and it’s only you four, I would ask HR to look at the resources within the Board, this must be remedied”.
Frank discussions are needed, argued Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG). “It needs to be recognized before anything happens, the guys go above and beyond,” he commented of the staff under pressure.
Addressing a West Clare MD meeting, O’Malley informed the meeting that he was now two years into his current role, prior to that he was based in Kilrush as a Senior Executive Engineer. “COVID came right at the start of my role, I’m not the cause of COVID but it happened, it added new challenges. At the end of each season, we had in-depth meetings about what was learned and what is needed, providing additional resources means overtime and overtime.” He noted that resources were in place for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday in 2022, which was not the case. previously.
Rural Development Director Leonard Cleary said it was an “affordability problem” but believed the solution lay in parking regulations. “We will have to start looking at charging for services that we weren’t charging for before,” he warned.