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MEP meets Parliamentary Ombudsman to discuss ESF over women's sector

21 August, 2015 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has met with Tom Frawley, the Parliamentary Ombudsman and a number of women's groups to discuss the administration of European Social Fund (ESF) by the Department of Employment and Learning.

 Ms. Anderson said,

 “A number of months back I met with several groups at Stormont to discuss the administration of the European Social Fund by the Department Employment and Learning as I was concerned that funding applications affecting the women's sector were being rejected due to a lack of clarification on guidance notes and the fund being used to plug a hole in the minister's budget.”

 “The ESF is aimed at reducing economic inactivity and has several thematic objectives including promoting gender equality and social inclusion, as well as educational skills and life long learning.

 “The Minister said he needed most recent management accounts in order to conduct a financial capability assessment and this change caused confusion leading to the process having to be rerun

 “Departmental obstacles had the potential to see the loss of 6000 training places and 40 jobs IN the women sector.

 “I organised a meeting with Parliamentary Ombudsman Tom Frawley to look potential maladministration and way of correcting the process for future ESF funding opportunities. 

 “If we are serious about gender equality then we must address issues like child care and allowing women to return to work, training and education in a safe and local learning environment then it is important that ESF is available to women’s groups that are doing sterling work.”

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