Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (237, 238, 239)

Gerry Adams

Question:

237. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the decision was made to close the community training centre, Mullaghcrone, Drogheda, County Louth; the reason that the decision was taken to close this service that caters for 48 service users at present; if any consultation took place between his Department and the experienced staff at the centre; the date on which the centre is scheduled to close; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22543/14]

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Gerry Adams

Question:

238. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills if Louth and Meath Education and Training Board was consulted as part of the decision to terminate services at the community training centre, Mullaghcrone, Drogheda, County Louth; if Louth and Meath Education and Training Board was identified as the replacement for the current services at Drogheda; the date on which this consultation took place; if the current community training centre was part of the consultation at this stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22544/14]

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Gerry Adams

Question:

239. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will reverse the decision made to close the community training centre, Drogheda, County Louth noting that the centre has been in operation for 30 years and provides an invaluable service to 48 persons between the ages of 16 and 21 years old; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22545/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 237 to 239, inclusive, together.

These issues are operational matters for SOLAS. I have made enquires and I am informed that the final decision to cease funding of Drogheda Community Training Centre (CTC) was made by SOLAS in April 2014. This decision was taken following a review of learning outcomes and value for money. Funding for Drogheda CTC will cease as of 8 May 2015. As the Board of Management of Drogheda Community Training Centre is responsible for the overall governance of the centre, the issues regarding the centre have been regularly discussed with them and this includes formal correspondence in March 2013 in which SOLAS notified the Board of Management of their intention to consider the cessation of funding for the centre. Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) were advised of the difficulties relating to the centre as part of the transformation and amalgamation of SOLAS regional training into the Education and Training Boards.

I am also informed that training for early school leavers will be reviewed with a view to enhancing provision in the Drogheda area. Early school leavers who would normally have been referred to Drogheda CTC will receive priority referral to other suitable education or training programmes in the Drogheda area provided by or supported by LMETB. This includes programmes that will be transferred to the ETB by virtue of the transfer of the FÁS North East Training Centre on 1 July 2014. Current learners will be supported to complete existing programmes. Over the next 12 months SOLAS Training North East, in conjunction with Louth Meath Education and Training Board, LMETB, will engage with all relevant stakeholders with a view to further enhancing provision for early school leavers in the Drogheda area.