TULLAMORE Town Council is to seek a meeting with FAS about developing a stimulus plan to create more jobs in the town.
“The biggest issue facing the public at present was unemployment,” said Cathaoirleach Cllr Molly Buckley who said it was a very sad situation that so many jobs had been lost in the town. It was also very sad, she added for families seeing their sons and daughters emigrating.
Cllr Sean O’Brien said it was time for government to think outside the box. “It is a shame to see young people unemployed, especially highly qualified young people.” He added that many people on the dole would gladly work as they wanted to use their skills and that there were many projects such as schools that could be retro-fitted to provide employment.
Both Cllr Brendan Killeavy and Cllr Lar Byrne told how members of their own families had emigrated. Cllr Killeavy pointed out that a meeting the Town Council had with Minister Batt Keefe had been pointless. The Council had not meet with FAS since he had been on the Council. “The Council needs to keep projects local. I know there are laws, but jobs are important. Whoever ends up in Government they need to look at a stimulus package to create jobs.”
Cllr Byrne added that when the building industry suffers, all of society suffers from the knock-on effect. “We have to keep trying to get jobs for Tullamore.”
Town Manager Declan Kirrane pointed out that Offaly County Council was already involved in an initiative with FAS to help apprentices complete their apprenticeships and also in a work placement scheme. Small industries creating two to three jobs were very important too, he added. The Town Council had met recently with Shannon Development in an effort to increase tourism for Tullamore which could help create jobs. However, Cllr Tommy McKeigue thought there were too many agencies working in the same area and that people could not get grants to set up small businesses. “The bottom line is that rents are too high and you can’t rely on state agencies to provide jobs. Until rents come down we’re not going to get anywhere.”