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FÁS loses last remaining shred of dignity – Morgan

16 October, 2009

Commenting on the latest scandal at FÁS Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan said the state training agency has now lost its last remaining shred of dignity. Deputy Morgan said the fabrication of results by a FÁS contracted company could have ramifications for the reputation of FÁS trained Irish workers both at home and abroad.

Speaking today Deputy Morgan said:

“Up until now the last remaining shred of dignity of FÁS hinged on its capacity and ability to provide training to the unemployed, to provide upskilling to workers and therein to improve the prospects of the Irish Labour Market.

“But now, these further revelations about FÁS and the bad practises that seem to be endemic in the organisation have really brought the State’s training and employment authority to its knees. At this stage, I feel the greatest sorrow for all those who have undertaken courses through FÁS over the past few years and more specifically in 2006 and 2007, as their qualifications are now in disrepute. As people got themselves, often for the first time, onto the ladder of education it has now come out that FÁS were careless and incompetent in even the process of certification.

“At a time when jobs are scarce and competition is rife, these further revelations damage the reputation not just of FÁS, but of FÁS trained Irish workers both at home and abroad. Despite the actions of FÁS to remedy the blundering incompetence of the company there will always be a niggling doubt in the back of employers’ minds.

“We need to remember that thousands of Irish emigrants are relying on these qualifications abroad and any disrepute at FÁS has ramifications elsewhere. We must also remember that while we are all aware of the facts of the case and the disease that has rot away at FÁS, our counterparts in other countries may not understand.

“This example in the north-east may only be scratching the surface of the misdemeanours in the ability of FÁS to provide training services and we need to do a thorough investigation so that these bad practises can be brought to an abrupt end.

“It was revealed that the extent of these tampered qualifications cost the taxpayer €600,000. However this does not include the costs to the taxpayer of monitoring the company, undertaking an audit, re-training, re-assessing and re-certifying the learners.

“The company involved should be required to reimburse the state the monies paid to them for their ‘service’ and indeed should cover the expense of the training and re-assessment that arose from their actions.” ENDS

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