Tullamore based Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has said he is shocked and hugely disappointed at the decision to designate Portlaoise as the Headquarters of the amalgamated Offaly and Laois VEC.
Deputy Cowen said: “This has come as a great shock to Tullamore and I am struggling to make sense of the decision. The VEC in Tullamore is a new, purpose built facility with exceptional services for staff and students alike. Tullamore provides a perfect location for such a facility and there is no doubt that our VEC has played a major role in education, training and job creation across the entire county.
“This decision comes shortly after the Government’s moves to cut funding for the N6 to Tullamore link road. It also comes at a time when fears are mounting over the potential sale of Bord na Mona and Coillte and concerns about how the Government’s privatisation plans will impact on jobs in the region. As a result of all of this, people are now genuinely worried about the Government’s attitude towards what is such a vital town in the Midlands.
“This Government will be faced with many difficult choices during its lifetime. I am deeply concerned about how and why these decisions are being made and the fact that there are certain communities that are consistently losing out.”