Limerick unemployment centre closed after CE support pulled

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Email:

nick.rabbitts@limerickleader.ie

Limerick unemployment centre closed after CE support pulled

The Limerick Resource Centre for the Unemployed has closed - Picture: Michael Cowhey

A SUPPORT centre in the city for the unemployed has been forced to close on its 30th anniversary.

The Limerick Resource Centre for the Unemployed (LCRU) in Cecil Street has closed due to funding difficulties which, the board says, led the Department of Social Protection to pull its support.

Established in 1987, the service provided a range of services to people out of work, including computer classes at a heavily-reduced rate, and advice on how to fill in forms, and claim certain social welfare benefits.

It moved to Cecil Street in 2014, after spending most of its life in Hunt’s Lane, just off Dominic Street.

However, in a statement, Terry Clancy, the acting chairperson of the board of management, said they were left with “no alternative”, and are “in the process of winding up the company”.

“The board of management struggled hard for nearly two years to turn the situation around and to try and keep the centre working in the face of an extremely difficult funding environment,” he said.

It was the loss of the community enterprise scheme from the Department of Social Protection which was the final straw for the centre.

Sixteen community employment staff have been relocated to other schemes in the city, but their supervisor, Padraig Malone has been made redundant.

He said: “A place like this has never been more necessary. We had a brilliant team and a great reputation for the quality of the learning which people had there, all at a very affordable price. Even when we closed, people have been coming to our door as we were moving out, and we’ve sadly had to say: ‘sorry, we can no longer help you.”

LCRU was set up by the trade union movement, and Mr Malone urged them to give some thought to supporting the centre’s reopening.

“Unless the trade unions want to try and resurrect it, I cannot see how it could reopen,” he added.