Questions Quinn is refusing to answer on FAS
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn was asked a series of questions by the Irish Independent about the awarding of a consultancy contract by FAS and his plans for the organisation:
1. Does the minister think it is appropriate for FAS, which has been mired in spending scandals, to spend large sums of money on outside consultants?
2. Does the minister think FAS should be spending such money when the Programme for Government says it will be abolished?
3. How much is the contract worth?
4. Who decided that FAS needed to spend this money on outside consultancy?
5. Who signed off on the contract with Fleishman Hillard?
6. How many other companies tendered for the contract?
7. Who were the other companies who tendered for the contract?
8. What exactly is the contract for?
9. Why couldn't the work have been carried out by internal FAS staff?
10. What are the minister's plans for FAS, considering both he and Fine Gael called for it to be scrapped before the election?
11.What queries has the minister put to FAS about this contract since taking up office?
12. What discussions has he had with FAS on the restructuring of the organisation? What level of knowledge did the Department of Education have of the contract?
13. Did the department agree to the necessity for the hiring of consultants for this purpose?
14. Did the previous minister agree to the necessity of the hiring of consultants for this purpose?
15. What are the minister's plans for FAS in line with the Programme for Government commitment to replace it with a national employment and entitlements service under the Department of Social Protection?
Mr Quinn's entire response, via a spokesperson for the Department of Education and Skills:
"I refer you to our previous statement in relation to your queries on FAS.
"Minister Quinn is currently reviewing options regarding the provision of further education and training and the structures to support it with a view to providing the best service to trainers, learners and the wider enterprise sector.
"This review is wider than just looking at the remit of FAS or a new skills agency which might take its place.
"The intention is to ensure that the various players in the area work together to ensure optimum synergy in the delivery of further education and training.
"Particular attention will be paid to ensuring that the skills and competencies achieved by the unemployed through these players will meet both current and future labour market demands. In the current economic climate this means that training will be designed and delivered to address both cyclical and structural unemployment and to prevent loss of employment in vulnerable sectors."