WITH as few as two traffic wardens patrolling Limerick at any one time, city council officials are now looking at outsourcing the service to a private company, it has been confirmed.
But councillors have vowed they will have the ultimate say on whether the service is privatised and there would have to be a vote, just as when refuse collection was privatised in 2000.
City manager Tom Mackey said that “privatisation has emotive connotations” and what officials were exploring was how best to “ensure an adequate level of service for a city of Limerick’s size”.
Traffic engineer Rory McDermott said that while 10 wardens had been employed a number of years ago, only four were now on the payroll. And the ban on public sector recruitment, retirements and illness, has left the Council seriously short of manpower.
“What we are effectively trying to do is bring the numbers back up to an adequate level given the general government embargo on recruitment,” Mr Mackey said. City Hall, he explained, had received complaints from businesses where motorists were illegally parking in loading bays and clogging up short-term spaces that ought to be used by shoppers.
Officials have had talks with four companies on providing a service but Mr Mackey stressed there would be no incentive for a successful bidder to maximise the number of fines doled out as any contract would be for a fixed price and “payment would not be based on the number of tickets issued”.