Former GAA President Joe McDonagh has been announced as the CEO of the amalgamated VECs of Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo.
Leitrim is expected to merge with Sligo and Mayo early next year with McDonagh to take the reins from the new headquarters in Castlebar, Co Mayo.
The 59 year old former Galway hurler and GAA President is the current CEO of County Galway VEC. In 2009 he was named in the Sunday Tribune’s list of the 125 Most Influential People In GAA History.
The 16 new chief executives were picked from among the 19 full-time CEOs of the 33 city and county VECs, which will be replaced by education and training boards (ETBs) early next year. The most senior serving CEOs were given first choice of the new body they wanted to head up. The three unassigned full-time CEOs will be redeployed in education or the wider public sector.
It is expected that Martin Fallon who is currently Leitrim VEC’s acting CEO will return as Principal of Drumshanbo Vocational School or he could be offered a vacant CEO’s position to look after matters directly affecting Leitrim, given the distance between Leitrim and the new headquarters. Although mergers of the VECs are expected to happen early next year, fully merged meeting of the three county VECs are not expected to take place until after the local election in 2014.
The first meetings between the CEOs and Department of Education took place last week, with legislation to create the Educational Training Boards to be published by Education Minister Ruairi Quinn later this month. The VECs have a total annual budget of about €1bn, which funds the running of 254 second-level vocational schools and community colleges. They are also patrons of the multi-denominational community national school sector and have responsibility for further education, adult education, and training programmes. The ETBs will also take over responsibility for FÁS training centres and their 750 staff, under the guise of the Solas further education and training authority.