Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Questions (254)

Willie O'Dea


254. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason her Department invited unemployed persons to a conference in Liffey Valley and then cancelled the event; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11923/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

An Education and Training Options Fair opened in the Clarion Hotel Liffey Valley at 12 noon on Thursday 27 February and was due to run until 7.00 p.m. Such Fairs are among the regular events which the Department organises throughout the country to help jobseekers return to work, training and education, and are a key component of the Department’s strategy to reduce unemployment, which, as recent figures from the Central Statistics Office illustrate, is falling steadily.

Some 34 education and training providers had stands to showcase the courses they provide free of charge to jobseekers. A total of 30,000 invitations were issued to jobseekers, 11,000 of which were letters and the remainder were texts. Based on previous attendance rates at similar Department of Social Protection events, some 5,000 customers were expected to attend over the course of the day.

However, it was decided before lunchtime to close the event due to the unexpectedly high numbers attending in the first hour and the consequent traffic difficulties this was causing in the area. The Department is now conducting a review of the arrangements put in place for the Fair, with a view to ensuring there is no repeat of the problems at future such events. Of the invitation letters issued in advance of the Fair, 1,000 stated that if the customer did not attend, it could be taken into account at a later stage. However, in light of the situation which arose these customers will not be affected in any way.

Question No. 255 withdrawn.