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Labour Services Act 2009 a farce - Morgan

21 January, 2010

Speaking today after the Commencement Order for the Labour Services (Amendment) Act 2009 was signed by the Tánaiste, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Deputy Arthur Morgan expressed his apprehensions about the Act, questioning the undiluted power given to the Minister and he set the task to the new Board to get FÁS back on track.

Deputy Morgan said:
“On publishing this legislation, the Tánaiste heralded a ‘root and branch cultural change in accountability and transparency at the organisation. But really the scandals at FÁS were the symptom, not the disease. The disease of corruption, cronyism, and careless expenditure is rotting away at public confidence, not only in State Bodies, but in the roots of Government itself.

“This Act on whole is a farce. Public confidence cannot be restored in FÁS while Mary Coughlan is at the healm, while undiluted Ministerial power still wields excessive influence over FÁS and its organisation. This Act may be doing a clear-out, but we are really only sweeping the dirt under the carpet. If the Minister is serious about reform, restructuring and fairness, she would not have afforded herself the powers that this Act lays down.

“The jury is still out on the new Board but I want to emphasise that they have a lot to prove in their new positions. At a time when there are 426,700 people on the Live Register, when FÁS is needed most, the agency cannot be consumed by anymore scandals. The people will take no more. What we need is vision to get this economy going again; to get people into education, training and employment.
The culture of cronyism in some sections of FÁS needs to be wiped out completely and I hope the provisions for ‘whistleblower’ protection will have a key part in doing this.” ENDS

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