“Don’t fool me twice” says CEO over Solas merger

Chief Executive of the Educational Training Board for Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo, Joe McDonagh outlined some serious concerns about the merger of Solas with the ETB.

The second last meeting of the regional ETB with full membership of the three counties was held in Carrick-on-Shannon on Monday, March 24.

At the meeting there was a presentation on the work of Solas, previously known as FÁS, in Sligo, Leitrim & Mayo. The ETB members passed a motion to accept the Solas Bank Account, but Mr McDonagh said he will not accept the risks associated with this group because of staffing shortages.

A resolution was passed by ETB members that they will not receive Sligo & Ballina Solas Training Centres under their responsibility without having the Senior Management in place, which they understand to be one manager and three assistant managers.

Due to upcoming retirements and a moratorium, it is understood this management structure will not be in place for the merger of Solas and ETB on July 1.

Joe McDonagh commented “Fool me once, but don’t fool me twice.” He said the Leitrim, Sligo & Mayo Educational Training Board are “seriously under pressure with staff.”

It was noted that the three VECs were understaffed before they merged into the ETB. All members were in agreement that the Solas staff shortage should be sorted before they take over Solas.

At the start of this meeting, Damien Brennan resigned his position as Chairperson of the ETB. MrMcDonagh thanked Mr Brennan for the last few months and for the “support and courtesy” he had shown to the office. Cllr Joe Leonard from Sligo was appointed chairperson in his place.

Drumshanbo Cllr Enda McGloin was elected chairperson of the ETB Finance Committee. These positions will change after the local elections in May when Mayo will have six council representatives, Sligo and Leitrim will both contribute three members each.

A number of building projects are progressing in the area. Work on Mohill’s football pitch has stopped until better weather. The extension at Carrigallen VS is expected to be completed in May; work on the roof there has been completed and an application to improve heating has been successful under the Summer Works Scheme.

A planning application for an extension at Drumshanbo VS is expected to be submitted this month. The first extension at Lough Allen College, Drumkeerin is in progress and tenders have been received for the second extension.

The Department of Education has sought further information in relation to improvements works at Carrick-on-Shannon VEC office.


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