Don't close Westport's Resource Centre - Political Quote

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Don't close Westport's Resource Centre

Westport Labour councillor Keith Martin has, this morning, contacted the David Begg, General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, to request that the closure of the Westport Centre for the Unemployed be abandoned. Cllr Martin says he was dismayed to learn of the planned closure of the Centre in the local media.

“This decision has been made without consultation with the local community, town council or labour movement. As a member of the Impact Trade Union, as a Labour Councillor and a socialist I am dismayed at this decision and by the complete lack of consultation and notice by the ICTU in reaching this decision.”

There are no other resources like the Centre in town. We have no Citizens Advice Bureau, MABS, FAS, Consumer Affairs or Trade Union offices in Westport. The role of these organisations as Information Gateways was fulfilled by the Centre.

It is my understanding that the Centre is to be closed because it is not being used sufficiently. That is not the same as there being no need of its services but rather indicates a lack of awareness of the Centre’s resources and facilities among those who need the service most. Just two years ago Westport lost 325 jobs at Allergan the town’s largest employer. The town is also home to over 600 to 800 non national workers who travel here to work in Westport’s service industry and they too rely on the centre for CV’s, employment information and rights information like the minimum wage and advocacy information.

How are we to be expected to standup to the downsizing of businesses, job losses and relocation of labour if Westport is abandoned by the ICTU and the union movement?

I am calling on every person in Westport, every Trade Union member, every unemployed person and everyone who ever used the Centre in Westport to contact the ICTU on 01 8897777 to call on them to leave the centre open. Times are good now and they want to take this valuable community resource away, God help us when times get bad again.”

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