I thank the committee for facilitating this meeting. I agree with Mr. De Rossa. This type of connection is important, and this committee can influence the thinking behind the applications.
We are here to try to learn lessons from what has happened which will allow us use our influence to try to improve the globalisation fund and the way it operates in all 27 member states. The committee has a role in that as well.
Mr. De Rossa has made the central point. As he said, while an inter-agency forum has been set up in Waterford, or at least that is what it states on the application, the implementing body has not yet been set up and given that our committee voted yesterday to approve the funds for Waterford Crystal on which we and the Parliament will vote in two weeks in Strasbourg, as the committee voted, it is extremely worrying that this implementing body has not yet been decided upon. Mr. De Rossa stated that he favours FÁS. I am much more open than that. I do not have strong views on it. FÁS is already implementing one in Dell. I am not sure how efficient that is but we will have a better idea of it tomorrow. It is worrying, however, that that body has not been set up. I am sure SR Technics will come before our group, that is the working group, very soon. We will want to know at that stage that such a body has been set up and that it could hit the ground running, so to speak, whenever a decision is made by the Parliament.
I will briefly make three other points. First, one of the issues raised this morning was the time involved. It has taken 17 months from the time workers in Dell and Waterford Crystal were made redundant for the application to be finally approved. I am aware we have some delay in the parliaments but we are cutting back on that time. The application should have been made on day one and therefore that must be dealt with.
Second, it was clear this morning that there was not the level of involvement of the social partners that the working group and the committee would have wished. I am aware Dell was non-unionised but that is not the case with the others and we believe that part of it is missing.
Third, a concern I and others have is that this money is for the redundant workers. It is supposed to meet their needs and it is important, therefore, that the training and education provided for workers is targeted to meeting their needs. We are not convinced that is happening, and I am not just talking about the position in Ireland. We will know more about that tomorrow but that kind of flexibility is written into the fund and it is important that workers get the benefit of it.