Leitrim County Manager, Jackie Maguire, has confirmed that the Area Engineer Office in Ballinamore will close at the end of the current building lease in September.
At last Monday’s Council meeting it was confirmed that while the Ballinamore office will close, the Dromahair office will remain open as will offices in Manorhamilton and Carrick-on-Shannon. However she said the local authority was looking at the possibility of co-locating the north Leitrim offices in the future and admitted that the work carried out in the Dromahair office “may change” in the future.
Councillors expressed their anger and frustration at the closure of Ballinamore.
Cllr Gordon Hughes said that he felt the decision was premature and he was disappointed that Councillors had not been given a cost-benefit analysis on the closure before the final decision was made and that Councillors had not been informed immediately of plans to close the office.
His words were echoed by Cllr Ellis who questionsed exactly how much the Council would save by closing the Ballinamore facility.
“We need an undertaking that services will be maintained in Ballinamore following this closure,” he said.
Cllr Martin Kenny described the closure as a retrograde step for he Council and suggested that it would have been better to renegotiate the rent in Ballinamore rather than close the office completely.
The County Manager said her hands were effectively tied by the Croke Park agreement and she had been obligated to speak to the unions on this issue before Councillors were informed.
She also admitted that the unions had asked the Council to look at the possibility of having all staff in the South Leitrim area based out of Carrick-on-Shannon, something Cllr Enda Stenson described as “very disappointing”.
“We would like to see the offices in Mohill maintained and it would be a huge blow to see them moved to Carrick-on-Shannon,” he said.