CLLR Willie Aird is calling on Laois County Council to give unemployed qualified technicians and engineers a chance to work on the new town sewerage scheme, in an attempt to keep more young people in the country rather than travelling overseas for work.
Speaking at the recent meeting of Portlaoise Town Council in County Hall, Cllr Aird said that this was an opportunity for employment for young people which might otherwise not be available.
“This is the first opportunity in a good few years for people to tender for jobs,” he said. “We all know young people who have had to leave the country just to get work.”
He went on to say that many people have complained that often council tenders are given to tradesmen who are now retired.
Cllr Aird suggested sending a letter to Minister Phil Hogan, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, asking him to support the councillor’s call for people needing experience to be taken on.
“I feel very strong on this,” he said.
Cllr Caroline Dwane pointed out that a social clause could be put into the council’s policy, which would allow for a certain percentage of people not currently employed to be taken on.
In a reply from Ms Irene Delaney, corporate affairs, read out to the meeting by town clerk, Ms Pamela Tynan, it was said that Laois County Council is an equal opportunities employer and the filling of all posts must be carried out in accordance with the qualifications as set out by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
The Laois Grouped Towns Sewerage Scheme involves the construction of five new wastewater treatment plants to cater for the next 20 years. The new treatment plants will be constructed in Abbeyleix, Stradbally, Durrow, Rathdowney, and Mountrath. The tender price was €11,439,642.