In June 2011, the Government decided to reduce the overall number of vocational education committees (VECs) from 33 to 16, to merge particular VECs, including the VECs covering County Dublin and Dun Laoghaire, and to approve in principle the preparation of a new Bill to replace the existing VEC legislation. The VECs were dissolved on 1 July last and were replaced with Education and Training Boards (ETBs).
The new ETBs will strengthen locally managed education and enhance the scale of local education and training. This represents a major component of the public service transformation agenda. The new configuration paves the way for exciting new provisions that will provide for the establishment of SOLAS, the dissolution of FÁS and the transfer of training functions to the newly formed Education and Training Boards. In October 2011, I decided on the headquarter locations for the new ETBs. In relation to the merger of Co. Dublin VEC with Dun Laoghaire VEC, I decided that the headquarters for the new ETB will be in Tallaght. In arriving at this decision, I considered a range of factors including the need to ensure that the location of a VEC headquarters will, to the greatest extent possible, facilitate staff redeployment under a redeployment scheme within the context of the Croke Park Agreement and the need to operate at lowest cost having regard to the accommodation available in existing locations.
In terms of these criteria, I was aware that redeployment of staff from Dun Laoghaire to Tallaght is possible under the Croke Park agreement. However, I expect that the offices in Dun Laoghaire will remain open for some time and that the approach to redeployment will be measured and considered. I am satisfied that, properly managed, the move will positively impact on education services offered by the new ETB.