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Row sees FAS workers taken off city project

TRAINING body FAS has taken workers off childcare duty at a south Dublin community centre because of "serious concerns" about the management of the project.

Emergency procedures have been put in place at Mountwood Fitzgerald Community Development Project (CDP) in Dun Laoghaire after FAS said it was left with "no option" but to withdraw its services.

The body has told the Herald that it made several attempts to reach a compromise with the Board of Mountwood Fitzgerald CDP over a number of months but could get no satisfaction.

The Mountwood/Fitzgerald Park area is considered to among the most disadvantaged areas in Ireland but has been benefiting from the multimillion euro centre since last year.

FAS was an integral part of the centre and supplied almost 40 community employment (CE) workers until last Friday when supervisors pulled the plug.

The Herald understands that Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council has stepped in to help provide emergency cover.



Dispute

The council said it was "not in a position to comment on a dispute between FAS and the Mountwood FitzGerald Community Development Project other than to say that "every effort will be made to support the maintenance of services to the community".

According to Mountwood's own website its programmes employs a team of 37 part-time CE and two part-time assistants who deliver a range of activities and services within the Resource Centre.

In a statement to the Herald, FAS said it had "serious concerns regarding the management of this project and although numerous communications were made between the Board of Mountwood Fitzgerald CDP and FAS over a number of months, FAS had no option but to suspend the project".

The CE learners based at the facility have been informed of the decision by FAS and have been assured that they will continue to support their participation on CE.

Despite being without work for a short period their payments will not be affected.

"FAS are in the process of transferring the learners to a similar position on an alternative project in the immediate area and this process is almost complete," a spokesperson said.

kdoyle@herald.ie