Longford / Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has said the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn is not adequately addressing the concerns surrounding the decision to close Longford VEC.
‘This week I attended a special meeting of Longford VEC and spoke about the uncertainty this decision is causing for the staff of Longford VEC. There is an urgent need for the Minister to clearly outline what his long term intentions are.
‘I have raised these issues with Minister Quinn and he has informed me that he expects that “headquarters staff of Co Longford VEC will move to the designated headquarters location in Mullingar as soon as feasible, although, a sub-office will be maintained in Longford for the immediate term in order to facilitate an orderly merger.”
Deputy Troy said: ‘I still believe there is a role to play for the Longford VEC facility. The people of Longford still need to be serviced and it can be done from the current location as the rent on the building is nominal.
However the Minister has informed me, “the detail in relation to the use or disposal of existing property interests in Longford, following the move of staff to the newly designated headquarters in Mullingar, will be worked through by my Department in conjunction with the VECs involved and the new merged body when established.”
Deputy Troy said: ‘There is a distinct lack of clarity in the Minister’s reply and it is clear that the future of the office in Longford is not certain. It may be sold off or it may be put to use elsewhere. I am urging the Minister to engage with the community, which does still need a Longford-based service, and commit to retaining the building for use by the community for education purposes.’
‘I accept that certain positions, such as CEO, can be merged and there are legitimate savings that can be made there will still be a need for a core staff to be based in Longford, in my view.’