It’s gone from bad to worse from an employment pers pective in Carrick-on-Suir following the news that the axe is to fall on the town’s jobs club on November 21st.
The long rumoured closure, first mooted during the summer, has been confirmed and has been greeted with disappointment both locally and within Oireachtas chambers.
Among the disappointed voices was that of local Senator Phil Prendergast, who said she was “shocked” to learn of the decision taken on October 22nd.
Earlier in the year, a FÁS review raised concerns over the club’s capacity to meet agreed targets, concerns which were in turn relayed to Senator Prendergast by Labour Affairs Minister Billy Kelleher.
“Despite the protestations from FÁS, who have consistently claimed that Carrick-on- Suir Jobs Club has failed to meet their target of 120,000 clients, it is very clear that FÁS contributed to this perceived failure by failing to adhere to their own guidelines in their [own] manual,” claimed the Senator.
“Recruitment to the job club will be through referral from FÁS Placement Services or from the Local Employment Services,” said Senator Prendergast, quoting a FÁS Employment Services Unit operating manual dated March 2000.
Despite this guideline, she added, “a meagre seven per cent of referrals was made from the Local Employment Service and only 15 per cent of clients were referred from FÁS in 2007”.
Questioned Senator Prendergast: “How did FÁS think that Carrick-on-Suir Jobs Club could possibly meet their unrealistic targets without the promised referrals?”
Congratulating the club on “recruiting against the odds and without the assistance of FÁS,” she said the office’s efforts were “a measure of the importance and value that the people of Carrick-on-Suir place on the Jobs Club”.
With the FÁS purse strings not reduced by Budget 2009, Senator Prendergast queried where the monies previously assigned for the Carrick Jobs Club were now being redirected to.
“Carrick-on-Suir is losing a service that is needed now more than ever and FÁS have a moral responsibility to the people of this area to not only continue this much needed service, but to also offer realistic support for this service,” she said.