THE TÁNAISTE Mary Coughlan yesterday sought to play down a controversy with the European Commission that has brought a halt to the claiming of tens of millions of euro in European Social Fund payments.
Her department confirmed that a claim for €57 million spent by Fás on training and which was to be repaid by Europe, was withdrawn because of issues raised by European audits.
A prominent trade unionist has criticised a call for FAS to be shut down:
The Labour Party’s spokesman on education, the former minister for labour Ruairí Quinn, has called for Fás to be “shut down” as a result of this latest blow to its credibility. He said some of its budget should be transferred to educational institutions such as institutes of technology.
This sparked an angry trade union reaction from Siptu and Ictu president Jack O’Connor who is also a long-time member of the Labour Party’s national executive.“Ruairí Quinn was undoubtedly the best minister for finance in my lifetime but he is totally and completely wrong in his call for closing down Fás,” Mr O’Connor said.
Total amount SIPTU College received via the FAS Competency Development Programme (CDP) (2003 to 2008 inclusive): €2,068,571.6
Total amount ICTU received via the FAS Competency Development Programme (CDP) (2003 to 2008 inclusive): €2,460,274.73
Total for SIPTU and ICTU: €4,528,846.33
SIPTU and ICTU were two of the top 10 recipients of FAS CDP money from 2003 to 2008.
I think maybe Mr O’Connor should have mentioned these figures.