Clare Fianna Fáil TD, Timmy Dooley has said that the decision of the county’s two Fine Gael TDs and Senator to support Leo Varadkar despite his decision to cut staffing levels at Obair Newmarket on Fergus from 20 FTE to 14.5 FTE is shocking and one that requires an explanation.

“It has become clear that Minister Varadkar’s Department is intent on cutting staffing by 33% which will surely curtail the level of services being provided to the local community.

“In recent years, 20 staff members were funded by the Department to work in Obair Newmarket on Fergus under the Community Services Programme.

“I don’t accept the Minister’s assertion that a 33% cut in staffing support is sufficient to cover the organisation’s current areas of work.

“Deputies Breen and Carey, in addition to Senator Conway, need to account for their support for Minister Varadkar in the current Fine Gael Leadership campaign in light of these cuts.

“Will cuts of this nature to really important local community services be the new signature policy measures of a Leo Varadkar led Government, and are Clare Fine Gael public representatives happy to support such measures?

“Obair provides meals on wheels and crèche facilities, as well as training and education supports to the local community and a reduction in staffing support from the Department of Social Protection will jeopardise the provision of these services.

“The three local Fine Gael Oireachtas members should use their public support for Minister Varadkar to convince him to reverse the cuts; if they can’t or won’t the question needs to be asked: what was the point of coming out so publically for the Minister?” concluded Dooley.