A jobs centre which was earmarked for closure today in an unemployment blackspot has been thrown a lifeline.
Cork City Partnership, which manages a network of seven Local Employment Services (LES) offices across the city, confirmed yesterday that it has deferred the planned closure today of its Mahon LES office.
It said the office, which provides a range of advice and supports for job-seekers, will remain open for the foreseeable future, and that it will engage in talks with a range of stakeholders on its long-term future.
The decision follows calls at this week’s city council meeting for the closure decision to be reversed.
Fianna Fáil Cllrs Terry Shannon and Nicholas O’Keeffe raised the issue at Monday’s meeting, and said news of the proposed closure had come out of the blue.
It is understood that one of its two staff members is due to retire and while the retiree’s position is due to be replaced, the replacement will be based at one of the LES offices in the city centre.
Cllr Shannon criticised the proposed closure and described it as an attack on the local community.
“There is still a lot of unemployment in this area,” he said.
“We are being told by the Taoiseach every day that the way out of poverty is a job. And while we get that at a macro level, there are plans to close this office at a micro level.”
He praised the centre which over the years has helped thousands of people get jobs through CV advice and tips on interview technique.
The Mahon LES office also played a key role during the development of Mahon Point shopping centre when it ran training courses for people in the Mahon area who went on to secure retail jobs.
Mr O’Keeffe said LES offices like the one in Mahon provide a vital service to help those trapped in long-term unemployment get back to work.
Lord Mayor, Cllr Chris O’Leary, also called for talks to save the facility.
They all welcomed yesterday’s news that the closure is being deferred but said its future must be guaranteed.
According to the most recent Cork City Profile, the Mahon-Blackrock area has a population of some 10,000 and has some of the highest unemployment rates in the city.
The Cork City Partnership also runs LES offices in Churchfield, Fairhill, Knocknaheeny, and Togher.
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