IT’S expected that Offaly VEC headquarter offices will remain open for some time and the approach to re-deployment of its staff will be “measured and considered”, according to the latest news from the Education Minister.
Laois/Offaly TD, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy received information about the future of the VEC committee, following the decision by Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, TD to re-locate that the headquarters of the new Education and Training Board to Portlaoise.
In response to a Dail question, she was advised that a range of factors were considered including the need to ensure that the location of a VEC headquarters will, to the greatest extent possible, facilitate staff redeployment under a redeployment scheme within the context of the Croke Park Agreement and the need to operate at lowest cost having regard to the accommodation available in existing locations.
Redeployment of staff from Tullamore to Portlaoise is possible under the Croke Park agreement and it is expected that headquarters staff of Co Offaly VEC will move to the designated headquarters location in Portlaoise as soon as feasible. However it is anticipated that the office in Tullamore will remain open for some time and that the approach to redeployment will be measured and considered.
In the reply to the local Deputy, the Minister pointed out it will be a matter for the CEO of the new Education and Training Board to work through and judge what the best approach is to ensure the optimum approach to service delivery while the establishment of SOLAS is also likely to have a bearing on the precise arrangements to be made.
The detail in relation to the use or disposal of existing property interests in Tullamore, following the move of staff to the newly designated headquarters in Portlaoise, will be worked through by the Department in conjunction with the VECs involved and the new merged body when established.
“I have been advised by Minister Quinn that while his decision is final he will not be forcing any one size fits all approach to staff deployment and office accommodation by the new Education and Training Boards. The new board will be receptive to any reasonable and sensible arrangements that are the best fit for the needs of the areas for which they are responsible. I hope that the excellent and well equipped building in Tullamore will continue to be used for training purposes and see a place for Solas there.”