Protest at training centre's shut down
A CUT in training places for jobless people at an unemployment blackspot has caused dismay and anger.
Marchers protested against the loss of 20 training places in Tallaght, which they claim has twice the national average of unemployed people.
Dozens of demonstrators gathered yesterday outside the offices of the Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board in Tallaght.
They demanded that the board's CEO, Patrick Lavelle, reverse his decision to close Saint Dominic's training centre.
The centre, which uses five classrooms at St Dominic's primary school building, was a very successful centre for the Vocational Training and Opportunities Scheme (VTOS).
St Dominic's had 40 training places. The board's management decided to transfer 20 of those places to the Tallaght Enterprise Centre and transfer the other 20 places to Balbriggan.
Tallaght VTOS teacher Jacqueline Doherty said St Dominic's was a highly successful training centre and should have been kept open.
Tallaght could not afford to lose any training places, as there are more than 11,000 unemployed there, she added.
Balbriggan, which has 4,500 unemployed, could have got an extra 20 places without cutting the numbers of training places in Tallaght, she said.
St Dominic's was consistently over-subscribed and provided education and skills in an area where the jobless rate among under-24s is 25pc, she said.
A spokeswoman for the board said there were 80 places available in Tallaght Adult Education Services and a further 40 places available in Greenhills College, Tallaght.
Balbriggan, one of the fastest-growing areas in western Europe, has only 20 places.
Therefore, it was decided to move 20 places from Tallaght, which would still retain 100 VTOS places, to Balbriggan, said the spokeswoman.
She said €17,500 would be saved annually by the move.
Mr Lavelle and his management team will review their decision in light of the protests.