I propose to take Questions Nos. 105 and 106 together.
Since 1998 FÁS has responded to factory closures in Donegal by implementing a tried and tested process of individual interaction with each interested worker who has been made redundant. This interaction takes the form of a quality registration interview. The process enables FÁS to carry out a skills and training needs analysis, which it uses to set-up training initiatives that are matched to both the worker's needs and to the identified needs of local industry. The skills analysis produced by FÁS is made available to all the relevant bodies in Donegal to assist in the attraction of new industry. For the client, a dedicated employment services officer puts a personal action plan in place. This action plan takes the form of training, retraining, work practice, a job or other employability measures.
The problem for older workers obtaining new skills is not just confined to County Donegal or indeed, Ireland, but is a European-wide problem. FÁS responds to older workers that are referred by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs under the Government's employment action plan as they reach a threshold duration of unemployment. The aim of this plan for older workers is to prevent long-term unemployment.
In addition, the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs operate a back to work allowance scheme and a back to work enterprise allowance scheme to help long-term unemployed people get back in to the work force. The back to work enterprise allowance scheme is administered by local partnership companies and to date this scheme has helped up to 400 people set up their own employment in the Inishowen area alone.