“WHAT about the Forest Service jobs, are they coming or not?”
That was the question asked by DUP councillor Paul Robinson at last week’s meeting of Fermanagh District Council. Back in May 2012 it was announced that the headquarters for the Forest Service was to be relocated to County Fermanagh at a boost of 100 jobs.
Two years on there has yet to be any decentralisation and the figure for jobs has decreased significantly with the number now standing at 60.
Council chairman Alex Baird stated his belief that the decentralisation was still on the table, but acknowledged there has been little movement on the issue.
“I still believe it is going to happen, we could do with those jobs in Fermanagh due to the closure of the DVA office .”
Local UUP councillor Rosemary Barton expressed her disappointment with the progress on the proposed jobs and queried just how many would come to the county.
“Initially 100 jobs were to come, but the longer this drags on the less and less jobs are being transferred to the county.
“We should try and give government a bit of a shove instead of hanging around.”
Acting chief executive Robert Gibson stated he would make enquiries to establish how many Forest Service jobs would be coming to Fermanagh and to secure a timetable for when the transfer would be taking place.”
At the same meeting SDLP councillor Frank Britton asked that a meeting be arranged with a representative from Crown buildings, the location of the local DVA office,set to close before the end of the year at a cost of six jobs.
“I invite representatives from Crown buildings and the social security agency to a meeting in June, I would like to hear what’s happening. I would ask someone from management to come along and clarify the position.”
Sinn Fein councillor Thomas O’Reilly asked that councillors look at the bigger picture and highlighted the opportunity that exists at the old Erne Hospital site for a ‘one stop shop’ for a number of different agencies. He called on the council to do ‘something unique’ or ‘continue to haemorrhage jobs out of the county’.
“We need to encourage, these other offices to move into that site.”
He added: “Once they’re gone, there is very little opportunity to get them back.”
It was agreed that a meeting would be arranged between representatives from the council and the Crown buildings.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition