Leitrim hopeful of equal status on new ETB

Leitrim could get equal status on the newly merged Sligo, Mayo Leitrim Educational Training Board due to take over from the county VECs.

Leitrim could get equal status on the newly merged Sligo, Mayo Leitrim Educational Training Board due to take over from the county VECs.

It is now understood that the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn is considering changing the representative structure so that Leitrim would have equal status with Mayo and Sligo on the new board.

Under the general guidelines for the new ETBs Leitrim could have been left with just one public representative sitting on the amalgamated board on the basis of population. According to Cllr Mary Bohan at a previous sitting, if the guidelines were followed Mayo would have 6 political representatives, Sligo 3 and Leitrim could be left with just one. Leitrim VEC wrote to the Minister asking for serious consideration for each county to have three representatives on the new board.

Acting CEO of Leitrim VEC Martin Fallon said he received correspondence from the Minister’s private secretary Ronnie Ryan outlining that the Minister was “giving consideration” to the proposals. Mr Fallon said he heard the Minister was making “some changes” but that he had no official confirmation on this.

Senator Paschal Mooney said he did believe the Minister was considering allowing Leitrim three political representatives on the new ETB. He said the issue with parent representatives is still unresolved. The meeting heard that progression of the merger of VECs is slow, all CEOs are to meet this week to discuss issues, it is understood IT and finance have yet to be worked out.

With uncertainty over the format of administration of the new Educational Training Board, Leitrim VEC are seeking renovations funds for the county offices.

The VEC office on St Geroge’s Terrace, Carrick-on-Shannon is seeking funding up to €200,000 from the Department of Education for renovation. Martin Fallon outlined that the office has “no wheelchair access” and following a technical report they are seeking funds to provide better access. The application has been turned down with the reason given that “no capital funding” will be issued until the situation with the new Educational Training Boards is sorted. The Department also said any funding would need to be agreed with the new CEO, Joe McDonagh.

Mr Fallon invited Mr McDonagh to the offices last month and he met with staff and assessed the situation. He sent a letter to the Department supporting the funding allocation. Mr McDonagh also assured staff they would not be moved in the amalgamation.