Protest over FÁS jobs loss fears

WORKERS about to lose their positions on FÁS-sponsored jobs initiative schemes in Limerick held a two-hour protest yesterday.

The terminations could affect up to 200 people in five of the poorer areas of the city.

FÁS guidelines say those employed by the schemes for three years must be replaced by people over 35 who have been out of work for more than five years.

“There are very few people around who fit that description,” said Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan. “Those who are in position are a very impressive group of dedicated workers who are doing an essential job in their own community.”

The workers held the protest in Moyross, one of the areas which will be affected should their positions be terminated as planned in the coming months.

Should they lose their jobs, they will have to seek alternative employment in the open market.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Mary Harney has promised that the Government will do all it can to get jobs for Ballinasloe after the Co Galway town was hit by a fresh wave of job losses. Ms Harney, who is from the area, said everything possible would be done to secure investment after Dubarry shoe plant announced it was halving its workforce.

The company said it had no choice but to cut 40 jobs in its manufacturing operation and transfer them to Portugal, where costs were cheaper.

It is the latest jobs blow to the town, which has steadily become an unemployment black-spot since the closure of the AT Cross and Square D plants with the loss of hundreds of jobs in recent years. Dubarry is an Irish-owned company, which has been operating in Ballinasloe since 1937. At peak production, the company employed 200.

Ms Harney described the job losses as a further setback.

“My first thoughts are for the workforce and their families because this is devastating news for anyone who will lose their job,” she said.

“The priority has to be to get everyone back into employment as quickly as possible. With that priority in mind, we remain determined to do everything possible to secure new investment for the town of Ballinasloe.”

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