Aras an Chontae, Castlebar.

Staff losses leading to Mayo planning backlog

A Mayo elected representative has turned a spotlight to what he described as 'a concerning trend' within Mayo County Council's planning department, located at Aras an Chontae in Castlebar.

Westport Councillor Peter Flynn revealed that seven staff members had departed in recent months, sparking worries about the its capacity to fulfil its responsibilities.

The Fine Gael representative elaborated: "Getting positions filled is impacting on services and morale.

“Why is Mayo bucking the trend, losing an exceptional number of good people?"

The departure of experienced staff, he claimed, has left the planning department understaffed and under pressure to maintain services.

He called for prompt action to address the staffing shortages.

"It looks like we have a huge problem or that people don’t want to join Mayo County Council," he added, raising questions about the council's ability to attract and retain talent.

The council's chief executiuve, Kevin Kelly, said it is a trend across the country and they are engaged with the department in respect to this.

“Back around the Celtic Tiger era the country had to look overseas to get planners in and look at third level institution, or from other areas of work with some upskilling.

"All local authorities are finding it difficult. An Bord Pleanála and the planning regulator are able to offer higher graded jobs and have taken lots of planners from around the region.

"It effects all local authorities. We aren’t going to fill vacancies on a continuous basis.”