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Castlebar confirmed as new VEC regional HQ

Kenny confirms Castlebar as new VEC headquarters

Fine Gael councillor says announcement ‘silences’ claims that Enda Kenny is out of touch with his constituency

Edwin McGreal

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny last night (Tuesday) confirmed that the headquarters for Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim VEC will be in Castlebar, as reported exclusively in yesterday’s Mayo News.
The Mayo News broke the news in advance that last night’s announcement was set to keep the Mayo VEC offices in Castlebar, now also incorporating the Sligo and Leitrim VECs in an enlarged regional office. The merger is a result of the Government decision to reduce the number of VECs from 33 to 16. There will be sub-offices in Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon.
“I strongly welcome the announcement by the Education Minister, Ruairí Quinn, to locate the VEC headquarters in Castlebar.  It is important to recognise the new and dynamic future for the education sector in the three counties of Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim. The change should enhance the role of the VEC in delivering both further education and training; and this is something that is increasingly important in recent times,” said Enda Kenny.
Meanwhile Castlebar Town Councillor Ger Deere (Fine Gael) has said the announcement ‘silences’ another councillor, Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Blackie Gavin, who claimed that Enda Kenny didn’t know what was happening in his home town.
“Cllr Gavin knows only too well that Taoiseach Enda Kenny has never lost touch with Castlebar or Mayo, nor would he ever. The Taoiseach is very much in tune with what’s happening on the ground in Co Mayo.
“For a Taoiseach with such huge national and international responsibilities, Mr Kenny manages to find a great deal of time to attend events in Co Mayo. He works 17-hour days, commencing with clinics at 7 o’clock in the morning, and is always available to help out with projects in Co Mayo.
“Cllr Gavin argued that Mr Kenny spends too much time ‘performing official openings and raising green flags instead of looking after the interests of his constituency’. It is an incredible criticism – it is through attending events and meeting people right around this constituency that Mr Kenny stays in touch with what’s taking place on the ground.
“An Taoiseach is a superb public representative for this county, and, if anything, the quality of that representation has increased since he became the leader of this country. It was a cheap shot by Cllr Gavin, and, deep down, I’m pretty sure he knows that himself.”