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Doubts over Dr Sweeney’s future in new VEC amalgamation

Doubts over Dr Katie Sweeney’s future in new VEC amalgamation

Anton McNulty

The position of the current CEO of Mayo VEC is in limbo after the amalgamation and reduction of the number of VEC’s in Ireland means the number of CEO’s will be reduced.
Dr Katie Sweeney says she would ‘love’ to remain in her position in the newly-amalgamated VEC consisting of counties Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim but may not be in a position to do so because of the Croke Park agreement.
The restructuring of the VEC in Ireland has resulted in the number of VEC’s being reduced to 16 throughout the country. The current committee of Mayo VEC will be in place until 2014 when it is expected the new board will be formed.
Dr Sweeney has been the CEO of Mayo VEC since 2006 having previously been the Head of GMIT Castlebar. Dr Sweeney told The Mayo News she would love to continue on in her role as the CEO of the new committee but at present she would not be in the running to take one of the 16 new positions.
“The bottom line is there are currently 22 permanent CEO’s with 16 positions available. I would love to stay on in my job because I love the job and as far as I am concerned it is the best job in the county. However redeployment under the Croke Park agreement means it is based on seniority. I know I am not in the final 16 and unless there are retirements I could be redeployed within the public service,” she explained.
Last week, The Mayo News exclusively revealed that the Minister for Education was going to confirm last Tuesday that the headquarters of the new regional VEC was to be located in Castlebar. The decision was welcomed by Dr Sweeney who said it recognised the quality of service offered by Mayo VEC.
“It is great news for Mayo VEC which is one of the biggest in the county and provides a top quality service. It is great for our staff and is a recognition of the quality and learning that goes on here,” she said.
She explained that she did not know how long the it will take to implement the new VEC because the new legislation has not yet been enacted. She said she would only be surmising on how the staff will be deployed to the new headquarters but stressed that she ‘certainly hopes extra staff will come on’.
“In the last three years we have lost 17.8 staff from our head office alone so the remainder of the staff have to carry the workload of 17.8 people who no longer exist. That is a result of the moratorium which is a blunt instrument,” she said.