THE Government has forced the closure of a Dublin-based employment pact by cutting its funding.
Employment support programme Dublin Employment Pact (DEP), based on Great Strand Street in Dublin 1, closed its doors for good on Friday August 31.
Thousands of people benefitted from the agency which has played a pivotal role in supporting employment, training, education and urban development since 1998.
The closure of the programme, which has ironically left four staff members without jobs, came as a result of a cut to “core funding” from the Government of €265,000.
The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government had provided the funding as part of the Local Development Programme. The funding was withdrawn in April of this year.
Most Dublin Employment Pact staff and programmes have been transferred to other organisations. However, four staff, including director Phillip O’Connor, have been made redundant.
According to Mr O’Connor, it’s the end of an era as the agency no longer “fits” the Government’s delivery service model of employment support.
“When we were first established in 1998, long-term unemployment stood at eight and a half per cent of the workforce,” he told Northside People.
“While this figure fell to one per cent at the height of the boom, it is ironic that on the closure of Dublin Employment Pact it has again risen to the same level as in 1998.
“DEP is proud of its legacy and of its record over the last decade and more in leveraging over €14 million in resources to run many innovative and successful programmes and projects.
“While DEP managed to secure funding from many sources – local, national and EU – its budget under the Local Development Programme covered its core costs.”
Mr O’Connor fears the local community won’t survive without an employment programme such as the Dublin Employment Pact.
“As DEP closes it is with conviction that something very like it will soon be needed again if the ravages of the current crisis are to be tackled in Dublin through the spirit of cooperation,” he stated.
According to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, the DEP played a significant role in the formative years of the Dublin Partnership companies and the programmes delivered by them.
However, a spokesperson said it was no longer viable to continue to provide funding for the programme.
“The primary concern of the Department is to make every effort to ensure that the front-line services provided by, or supported through, the Department - especially those providing tangible benefits for the most disadvantaged communities - are protected,” the spokesperson stated.
“The priority has to be on the maintenance of essential front-line interventions and supports for the most vulnerable in society and the reduction in all operating costs and ancillary overheads.
“In that context, no future role was identified for the DEP in the delivery of the Local Community Development Programme.”More Information - http://www.dublinpact.ie