The National Trust announced yesterday (July 29) that it is planning to make 1,200 staff redundant across the UK, with potentially up to 80 redundancies to be made in Northern Ireland, as it looks to save £100 million in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It is yet unclear if this will affect staff at National Trust sites in Fermanagh.

The conservation and heritage charity, which has 5.6 million members, said it has lost almost £200 million as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, which shut all of its houses, gardens, car parks, shops and cafes, and stopped holidays and events.

The National Trust said it had already saved millions of pounds through furloughing staff, drawing on reserves, borrowing and stopping or deferring projects, but still needs to make savings to keep it sustainable in the long term.

It has proposed £100 million in annual savings, equivalent to almost a fifth of its annual spend, through changes to operations and cuts to staff and budgets.

The National Trust’s Director for Northern Ireland, Heather McLachlan, confirmed that the charity’s operations here would also be affected by the savings proposals. She said: "All aspects of the Trust’s work have been impacted by the pandemic, and Northern Ireland is no different. The consultation with staff has only just opened, so it is not possible to be definitive about the number of potential redundancies across our places in Northern Ireland at this stage. However, this could be in the order of 80 salaried staff. There will also be a reduction in our hourly paid staff budget, as is the case across the Trust. We have a total workforce in Northern Ireland of 570."

"This is a very sad day for us, and we will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the impact of job losses. Unfortunately these measures are essential to ensure our charity can continue to provide access to nature, beauty and history to everyone in the future. This is vital as society seeks to recover from the effects of this pandemic."

When asked by The Impartial Reporter if staff who work at National Trust properties in Fermanagh, including Crom, Florence Court and Castle Coole, could be impacted, a spokesman for The National Trust said: "We are in the delicate phase of working with staff so won’t be in a position to reveal geographical locations of affected roles just yet."