A job centre which has been run by volunteers for almost five months has been forced to shut down due to lack of funds.
The Friends of Cork Employment Resource Centre, who have been operating the centre on North Main St on a shoestring budget for 137 days, said they had no option but to close the centre.
They accused the Cork Council of Trade Unions, the centre’s sponsors, and Fás, its main funders, of abandoning Cork’s unemployed. “This decision has been forced upon us by financial realities,” said a spokesperson for the centre.
“Footfall in the centre has been slowly but inexorably falling, and the centre’s management have reported to the steering committee that we must close now, while we can still pay the debts we have incurred since we opened on Jan 3.”
The spokesman said the volunteers were motivated by a desire to serve the unemployed, retired, and disabled people of Cork City and county. But because its tutors and other staff are looking for work, staff turnover has been high, affecting the number of classes they could run.
This, in turn, affected the numbers of people attending the classes. Students were contributing between €3 and €5 for some classes and, as numbers dropped off, so too did income.
The centre’s spokesman said the point came where keeping the centre open was no longer viable.
Its manager Willie Fitzpatrick said their aim since January was to remain debt free. “So far, we have kept up to date with all our creditors,” he said. “However, we realised about two weeks ago that we would be heading into debt very soon.
“Therefore, we reluctantly take the responsible action and close the centre.”
There have been some donations from individuals, but nothing whatsoever from the Government, trade unions, or any political party, Mr Fitzpatrick said.
“God save Ireland, as these people certainly won’t,” he said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved