Friday 24 November 2017

Half of €23m fund for retraining ex-Dell workers is left unspent

Barry Duggan

ALMOST half of the €23m set aside to retrain and reskill thousands of former Dell workers will be returned unspent.

The deadline for the unemployed workers to apply for assistance from the European Globalisation Fund (EGF) passed this week.

Up to €10m will be returned unspent after less than 2,000 people fully availed of the grant aid.

The Irish Independent understands that while 2,400 applications initially sought assistance, just 1,700 fully benefitted -- with the vast majority entering FAS training programmes or returning to education.

A source said the reason the full EGF fund was not drawn down was because it was demand-led.

"People did not want to utilise it. They thought they could get a cheque or cash and go off and do what they liked with it. That was simply not the case."

Changes to welfare and education assistance in recent budgets also contributed to some of the shortfall in applications.

But the Dell Redundant Workers' Association claimed there were problems with the fund from the first day it was set up and said it was hindered by red tape.

Chairman Paul O'Connor said there was a lengthy delay in putting the resources in place.

Around €14.8m was previously made available from Europe and €8m from the Government. The unspent monies will be refunded proportionally.

It is understood that the total money to be returned will tally at between €8m and €10m.

Irish Independent

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