Local authorities have let go thousands of temporary workers in the past year as budgets continue to tighten.

This has prompted concerns that many of these same workers, who are often employed on relatively low-paid temporary or fixed-term contracts, are facing life on the dole rather than providing important ancillary services to communities.

The number of temporary staff employed nationwide by local authorities fell by more than 3,000 in the space of a year. By comparison, the number of permanent staff dropped by 337 during the equivalent period.

The figures show Dublin City Council alone employed 603 less temporary staff in June of this year than it did 12 months earlier.

Similarly, Cork County Council cut its temporary workers by 429 during the same period, while Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council cut its temporary staff by 105.

Meanwhile, Kildare County Council has let 257 temporary staff go between June of this year and June 2008, while in Donegal, a total of 210 temporary staff were also let go.

Labour environment spokes­­woman Joanna Tuffy TD, who obtained the figures in a written Dáil reply, noted most temporary jobs would not be well paid. She said many of those who have been let go are now on the dole.

"These jobs were cut because the councils have less funding from central government.

"Though the state saves money by cutting their jobs, the state instead has to pay many of them dole for doing nothing," she said