Closure fears for Portlaoise training centre

ST Canice’s Training Centre in Portlaoise may have to close if Laois VEC cannot find any suitable programmes to run there

ST Canice’s Training Centre in Portlaoise may have to close if Laois VEC cannot find any suitable programmes to run there

The centre, which was a traveller training centre until recently, is under a lease agreement until November 2015.

Speaking at this month’s Laois VEC meeting, CEO Anne O’Keeffe said that no decision had yet been taken on the building and that there was no suitable programme for it at the moment. She said that Laois VEC are currently looking at the possibility of getting programmes. “If we don’t get any programmes we won’t ahve any option but to close the centre”.

She was echoed by Adult Education Officer Joe Cunningham who said that the centre would need an anchor programme such as VTOS or those run in the Mountmellick, Abbeyleix and Portarlington centres. Mr Cunningham said that Laois VEC is making every effort to encourage the traveller trainees to attend other centres.

“Every effort is being made to provide education for them. A group of travellers looking for a course will be accomodated but we want them to be integrated with other students”, he said.

Ms O’Keeffe added that the reason for the closure of the traveller centres around the country was to integrate travellers into the community.

This was questioned at the meeting by Cllr Paul Mitchell who said that in his experience, travellers can’t integrate.

“It is going to take generations to change their idea that there is no value in education,” he said.