investment in job creation in Laois and Offaly is urgently needed to off-set the jobs lost as a result of the planned closure of two local decentralised offices, according to local TD Barry Cowen.
Commenting on a report recommending the closure of the FÁS office in Birr and the Equality Tribunal Office in Portlaoise, Deputy Cowen said this is a significant loss for Laois-Offaly in terms of job creation and a boost to the economy of the constituency.
“This new plan makes no sense whatsoever,” said Deputy Cowen. “It will involve breaking the leases on buildings in Birr and Portlaoise, abandoning the sites that have been purchased, disrupting staff further and spending more taxpayers’ money on relocation costs.
“In the case of the FÁS office in Birr, 14 staff are currently in a rented office, with a total of 90 staff who were due to relocate. A site for the completed office has already been purchased at a cost of €1.5 million. All of this will now go to waste.
“The Office of Public Works has admitted that the offices in Birr and Portlaoise may be left vacant for an indefinite period of time while the taxpayer continues to pay for them. Not only is this a waste of public money when we can’t afford it, it is also a waste of prime locations in both towns that could be put to better use.”