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PAC investigating FAS investments in Offaly


DCon

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JUST 12 trainees have completed courses at a €6.7m Fás college which opened at the start of the year, prompting the Dáil’s Public Accounts watchdog (PAC) to launch an investigation.

The state employment agency, which has already come under fire due to rampant overspending and the severance deal paid to its former director general Rody Molloy, confirmed the Mount Lucas centre in Offaly has only taken in 12 students so far for courses which run for a maximum of 12 weeks.

The centre, which is based on 33 acres a few miles outside Tullamore in Co Offaly, has no access to public transport. The moratorium on public sector hiring means there is only one lecturer working in the facility.

The chairman of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee, Fine Gael Deputy Bernard Allen, said the PAC would be investigating the cost and operation of the centre.

"These are complaints that have come to my attention and they will be investigated by the PAC," he said.

Mr Allen said the PAC would probe not just the Mount Lucas facility but also "other Fás investments in this county".
The sod was turned on the Mount Lucas facility, in Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s constituency, in October 2007 and was handed over to Fás in March of this year. It has cost €6.7m so far, paid in three tranches, but still requires a canteen/dining area and an area for drying clothes, Fás said. It has capacity for 50 trainees a day, but so far just 12 trainees have completed courses.

Those courses are related to the construction industry, such as for construction plant operators, but other courses intended for the facility include health and safety and environmental courses which will run from one to 12 weeks in duration.

A spokesperson for Fás said the facility is still not fully commissioned and that it will pay its way over the next few years.
| Irish Examiner
 

Digout

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Offaly comes up once again in relation to FAS, how strange.
 

DCon

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Why id they build this centre without providing public access?

Who owned the land? What was paid for it?

Did Cowen use FAS as a slush fund to get money into his constituency?
 

MsAnneThrope

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Is this the same site Ger Killally was involved with? I'm not familiar with Mount Lucas. Anyone in Offaly know if the Fás facility is built on the same site as the old briquette factory?

Mr Killally confirmed that apart from the two law suits currently before the courts, there is at least one other pending in January. In this other case he is ranged against a consortium and there are allegations surrounding the purchase of 35 acres at the former briquette factory site in Mount Lucas.
The Taoiseach's brother, Barry Cowen, a council colleague of Mr Killally, is sympathetic.
Irish Independent, December 2008: FF councillor slams media as lawsuit list grows longer
 

Mitsui2

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Who owned the land? What was paid for it?
A lot of questions in your post - I suggest we should stick with these two (or even just the first of them) as they'll probably provide answers to the others!
 

dipole

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Did Cowen use FAS as a slush fund to get money into his constituency?
FF use everything at their disposal to channel money to Laois/Offaly.
There is a reason why there is a huge FF vote in this constituency.The constituency has been bribed in to voting for Fianna Fail.
Laois\Offaly is like Northern Ireland - shaped by wealth transfer from Central Government.
 

HarshBuzz

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Offaly seems to be a cesspit of the highest order; you'd think the Taoiseach of the land would have his own backyard under control

tut tut
 

HarshBuzz

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But he has his backyard in order. Bought himself loads of votes and is guaranteed to be a TD for life. That's how it goes.
well, that's all that matters I suppose

has Ger Kilally been expelled from Fianna Fail yet?
 
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has Ger Kilally been expelled from Fianna Fail yet?
A spokesperson for Fianna Fail said they could not comment as the court case involving Cllr Killally is ongoing.

Mr Cowen, along with John Moloney and Sean Fleming, won three seats for Fianna Fail in the Laois-Offaly constituency in the 2002 general elections.

After the election results, Mr Cowen praised his Offaly colleague Ger Killally for his magnificent display, without which Fianna Fail would not have won three seats.
 

dipole

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To be fair to him. He did more for his own constituents than Bertie did.
There are huge problems in Bertie's constituency and he did feck all about them yet still managed to top the pole. Tony Gregory couldn't understand why people still voted for Bertie when he did nothing for them.

Brian Cowen looked after his own constituency very very well and is rewarded for it but his job is to lead the country, not the local Cumann.
 

HarshBuzz

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A spokesperson for Fianna Fail said they could not comment as the court case involving Cllr Killally is ongoing.

Mr Cowen, along with John Moloney and Sean Fleming, won three seats for Fianna Fail in the Laois-Offaly constituency in the 2002 general elections.

After the election results, Mr Cowen praised his Offaly colleague Ger Killally for his magnificent display, without which Fianna Fail would not have won three seats.
thanks, I will await with interest the final decision of the Courts and subsequent action by FF ;)
 

cricket

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Isn't there a register showing who previous land owner was ?
 

mmrebel

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Just on a point of interest , im well aware of where that site is ,it is in the middle of nowhere they even built a new road up to the facility , its built in the middle of a bog no kidding with nothing around it for miles
There was a ructions at a local FG meeting in the area recently over hospital bed been lost while they keep this white elephant open.
The running joke in the area is that FAS is the largest FF cummain in county Offaly so go figure
 

greengoose2

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To be fair to him. He did more for his own constituents than Bertie did.
There are huge problems in Bertie's constituency and he did feck all about them yet still managed to top the pole. Tony Gregory couldn't understand why people still voted for Bertie when he did nothing for them.

Brian Cowen looked after his own constituency very very well and is rewarded for it but his job is to lead the country, not the local Cumann.
Ah, poor Tony! Bert's constituency covers a pretty sizeable "social welfare" area. He bought those votes. After all this is handout territory and whilst showing no disrespect to the countless genuine cases currently there has always been a sizeable professional social welfare brigade who have never worked nor paid taxes.

Tony was not in the business of getting freebies for freeloaders. He had a social conscience and as an independent, dis amazing work in the communities from which he got the least support.
 

goatstoe

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Just on a point of interest , im well aware of where that site is ,it is in the middle of nowhere they even built a new road up to the facility , its built in the middle of a bog no kidding with nothing around it for miles
There was a ructions at a local FG meeting in the area recently over hospital bed been lost while they keep this white elephant open.
The running joke in the area is that FAS is the largest FF cummain in county Offaly so go figure
It wouldn't be the first time the govt. past or present built a facility in as you say, the middle of nowhere. Have you ever been to TG4 - now that is in the middle of nowhere. As it happens I'm in favour of decentralisation. Build it and they will come:)
 
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