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FÁS heads must roll – Morgan

11 September, 2009

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has said the executive board of FÁS should be sacked in light of the serious wastes of funds that have been exposed. Deputy Morgan also condemned Green Party leader John Gormley for attempting masquerade his support for NAMA by calling for resignations at FÁS.

Speaking today Deputy Morgan said, “At a time when the number of unemployed is fast approaching half a million people FÁS should be using all it available funds to get Ireland back to work. Wastage cannot be accepted – the Irish economy simply cannot afford it. There is a need for corporate clear out and for organisational restructuring so that essential employment services are delivered to the public. There will be public confidence in FAS until the Bord is removed.

“At a time when the state is at its knees, when families are waiting for months just to get subsistence to keep food on the table, when thousands of able people are crying out for employment, this irrational and frankly greedy behaviour by senior officials in FÁS is repugnant.

“The waste of funds at FÁS has been laid bare for all to see with promotional expenditure in 2002-2008, amounting to €48 million and exceeding budgets by 38 per cent. In general advertising alone, expenditure exceeded budgets by 66% over the period.

“This was happening at the time when it became strikingly obvious to anyone paying attention that the construction and financial sectors were in a vulnerable position and on course to collapse. Such reckless, whimsical and blatantly short-sighted expenditure should be the nail in the coffin of FÁS executives’ careers; if they cannot demonstrate competence in managing funds that should have been rightly ring-fenced for the impeding haemorrhaging of jobs, they are certainly not competent enough to manage the State’s training and employment authority.

“This scandal with FÁS expenditure is another example of a branch of government having absolutely no accountability. The Tánaiste seems perfectly content to stand back while these funds are wasted. We should not have to wait for resignations, there should be no hesitation in sacking these people on the spot, do not pass go and do not collect your executive pension. There needs to be action taken now we need to put in place frameworks that monitor and enforce accountability procedures. These people are not above the law and should not remain in privileged positions if they so readily abuse their power.

“John Gormley is attempting to masquerade his involvement in NAMA through calling for resignations at FÁS. The public will not be fooled. When heads are rolling, there is no question but that the Greens and their Fianna Fáil colleagues should be amongst them. They must accept responsibility for the economic crisis we are in and for the shocking wastage of public money, directly by department and by agencies such as FAS” ENDS

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