January start for VEC amalagamations

The role of VECs in retraining and upskilling people eager to return to the workforce was emphasized by Fine Gael Deputy John Paul Phelan in the Dáil during a debate on Education and Training Boards.

The role of VECs in retraining and upskilling people eager to return to the workforce was emphasized by Fine Gael Deputy John Paul Phelan in the Dáil during a debate on Education and Training Boards.

Deputy Phelan asked when the new amalgamated VEC structures would come into place as he had been approached by a number of people who work for the VEC in Kilkenny.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn replied that it was hoped the process would commence next January.

“There is an old building in virtually every rural parish or community, not least in my own area, which once housed the local technical college,” he said. “My late father, who was born in the 1920s, never received a secondary education but attended the old technical college in Listrolin, which has been closed for many years now. My father, his friends and many of his neighbours took part in educational courses at that technical college, which fulfilled an important role.”

While there are no longer technical colleges in every rural community, what was provided for in this legislation is an update of the old technical schools, he said.

“It is important these types of facilities are available to people who left the construction and other sectors and wish to retrain or upskill and also, to people who may have a third level qualification but wish to fill gaps in their education. The role of the VECs in filling these gaps is crucially important.”

Ireland has the best fed seagulls!

Ireland has the best fed seagulls in the world thanks to the EU’s “immoral” policy on discards according to Senator Pat O’Neill. He highlighted the recent case of a fisherman in West Cork who landed monkfish on the docks and gave it away for free and now faces prosecution.

The Senator called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney to ensure that the issue of discards was addressed during the CAP negotiations.

“Fishing is subject to quotas, but so is milk,” he said. “If I overproduce milk, it still goes into the food chain and I am not asked to dump 100 litres every day. If I have a wheat quota of three tonnes per acre and I produce four tonnes, what would I do with the extra tonne? That fish are being thrown back is immoral.”

We must change the way we do things

Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government Phil Hogan told the Dáil that Irish people must change the way they do things as current patterns of consumption and production are unsustainable.

Sustainable development is an issue which he believed warrants the highest priority within the overall policy making system, not just because of the opportunities it presents for green growth, but because we do not have any other option.

“Sustainable development is defined as development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” he said. “We are already aware that the current patterns of consumption and production are unsustainable for a planetary system that is under significant pressure and so to protect ourselves and the future for our children, we must change the way we do things.”