Saturday 25 February 2017

Solas likely name for agency replacing FAS

Shane Phelan and Fiach Kelly

THE Government will be asked to consider approving the name Solas for a new 'super authority' mooted to replace the beleaguered state training agency FAS.

Solas, the Irish word for 'light' or 'beacon', is the name being proposed by Department of Education officials for the reformed body.

It is understood there will be no job losses as part of the reform, since some staff will transfer to the Department of Social Protection, which is assuming several functions of FAS, while others will stay within the new organisation.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday told the Dail he expected the new agency to be unveiled by the Government in the next fortnight.

"The question of FAS will be decided on by the Government if not next week, then the week after," Mr Kenny said yesterday.

The Taoiseach also said director general Paul O'Toole and other senior FAS personnel would be brought before an Oireachtas committee to brief TDs and senators.

The Department of Finance has been kept informed of the developing proposals.

There have also been high-level discussions between Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and Mr O'Toole.

A document outlining proposals for the new authority is expected to be brought to Cabinet by Mr Quinn in the coming days.

A spokeswoman for Mr Quinn declined to comment on the specifics of the proposals and insisted that a name for the new agency had not been signed off on yet.

The move comes a full nine months after former Education Minister Mary Coughlan announced that FAS was to be replaced with a new "freshly mandated" state training agency.

Irish Independent

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