The Tánaiste has been unable to confirm if the Government has made any plans to train job-seekers in water meter installation so they may benefit from the alleged 2,000 jobs to be created over the next two years.
Questioning the Tánaiste during Leaders Questions in the Dáil today, Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen said it’s inconceivable that there are no State supported training courses on water meter installation, despite the Government’s spin on job creation around the establishment of Irish Water.
The Laois-Offaly TD said, “A month ago on April 18th the Taoiseach announced that water meters would be introduced and as a result “There will be no job losses in the 34 local authorities but an additional 2,000 jobs will be created for those men and women who are quantity surveyors, engineers, plumbers and people working in the water system”.
“The big spin was the 2,000 jobs that were going to be funded from the National Pension Reserve Fund. Is the Tánaiste aware of any plan to introduce training programmes with Fás or Solas on water meter installation? This surely should be a priority to allow 2,000 people to come off the live register. When will these positions be filled? Is there cross departmental co-operation on this issue and have the Ministers responsible met to discuss a plan?
“Only last week a constituent of mine went into a Fás office to seek information on these new jobs and to find out if there was a training course, but he was told there was not.  What does that tell me about the Taoiseach’s great jobs announcement a month ago?” asked the Laois-Offaly TD.
The Tánaiste was unable to confirm any arrangements that had taken place since the Irish Water announcement in April.
Deputy Cowen commented, “There is absolutely nothing in what the Tánaiste said that shows there is any plan whatsoever back up the Government’s claims of 2,000 new jobs from water metering. This is deeply worrying for all of those job seekers who were hoping that this could be there chance to get of the Live Register.  People on the dole cannot be expected to pay €640 for a two day course on water meters because there’s no State supported course available.
“Once again the reality does not match the Government’s rehetoric. If they were serious about tackling unemployment, these courses would be already up and running,” said Deputy Cowen.