June 6: TD queries Cappamore’s future in further education

The future of the East Limerick Centre for Further Education and Training in Cappamore was raised in the Dáil by Limerick Fine Gael Deputy Kieran O’Donnell.

The future of the East Limerick Centre for Further Education and Training in Cappamore was raised in the Dáil by Limerick Fine Gael Deputy Kieran O’Donnell.

He said the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board recently informed the college that it is seeking to cease offering 83 post-leaving certificate, PLC, places for students for the next academic year.

“The people of Cappamore feel very strongly about this,” he said.

“I want to ensure the cessation does not take place. Cappamore had a secondary school up to 2013 and thereafter it evolved into a third level institution, a college of Further Education, East Limerick Centre for Further Education and Training.

“Eighty three places were allocated under a rural remit for Cappamore and east Limerick. That is the key element to this.”

Deputy O’Donnell said the places were allocated to ensure students who have completed their Leaving Certificate and who are living in rural east Limerick and surrounding areas, such as Murroe, Caherconlish, Cappamore itself, Bilboa and Pallasgreen, could attend college in a rural setting.

“We now find it has been proposed that the 83 PLC places will be transferred to Mulgrave Street in the city,” he said.

In reply, Minister of State for Education Damien English said A PLC programme with 83 PLC places operated in St Michael’s College in Cappamore for a number of years.

This school amalgamated with two other schools - St Fintan’s Christian Brothers school and St Joseph’s Mercy secondary school in Doon - in September 2013 and St Michael’s College, Cappamore ceased to operate as a school.

“This resulted in the PLC places previously allocated by the ETB to St Michael’s College being re-allocated to Limerick College of Further Education,” he said.

“The ETB continued to operate the PLC programme in the former school premises in Cappamore as an outreach of Limerick College of Further Education. The ETB recently reviewed the PLC provision in Cappamore and decided that because there was duplication of the courses on offer in both centres and it was proving difficult to operate with such small numbers, it would withdraw the PLC programme from Cappamore and provide it in Limerick College of Further Education. I understand that discussions continue on this locally.”

Collins seeks update on Garda complaints process

An update on the independent review of certain allegations of Garda misconduct the estimated time of completion of the report was sought in Dáil by Fianna Fáil’s Justice Spokesman Niall Collins.

Very recently he said he had received communications from two of the 319 people affected.

“At a minimum, the fact that the Minister has now engaged a former member of the Judiciary to help draft a reply should be communicated to each of the 319 people involved,” he said.

“They are concerned because they believe the process is drifting. Prior to this they had lost confidence in the processes of State and now this process seems to be dragging on. That is what they are saying to me. Obviously, I have reassured and relayed to them what I have heard from the Minister on the issue.”

Deputy Collins said he had spoken to them about her positive disposition to arrive at the truth for them.

“Will she consider giving them, when they receive their formal reply, an opportunity to interact and engage with somebody on the review panel,” he asked.

“The opportunity to have face-to-face contact or engage in direct correspondence has been absent from the process.

“People made their submissions and their cases are being judged on them, without any follow-up or further interaction. That is a bone of contention for some and it must be addressed.”

In reply, the Minister said the complaints, in many instances, are about cases that have been in a variety of places, including before the Director of Public Prosecutions, through the courts systems or GSOC.

“The cases that have been referred to the process are complex,” she said. “There were very wide criteria and it involved all of the cases that appeared to be relevant, although some that have been referred fall outside the terms of reference.

“It was never intended that the process would include face-to-face meetings. It was always to involve a review of all of the work that had been done and all of the papers relating to the cases involved to ascertain whether, on the basis of an objective, independent legal review, recommendations should be made in terms of a follow-up.

“I will take up the Deputy’s point about communicating with complainants.”