Minister Damien English met with protesters outside Trim Castle Hotel

Ministers met with protests at FG ‘think in’

Local Employment Services workers take grievances to Trim Castle gathering

SIPTU members working in Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs, staged a protest at the opening of the Fine Gael parliamentary party ‘think-in’ in Trim on Monday to highlight their opposition to the privatisation of the sector.

SIPTU's Adrian Kane said:

“Our members have been left with no option other than taking their protest directly to the Fine Gael parliamentary party and the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys. Despite numerous requests for a meeting with the Minister she is still refusing to engage with us.

“The protest highlights the decision by the Minister for Social Protection to change the tendering process for the provision of essential local employment services.

“She has introduced a process which seeks to move the provision of these services from not for profit community sector providers to for-profit private companies.

Mr Kane said there is huge support from elected representatives in Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Labour as well as among Independents and others for the retention of LES and Jobs Clubs in their present form. Fine Gael stands alone in its attempts to railroad these changes through.

“This summer, SIPTU launched the ‘Our Community is Not for Sale’ campaign to oppose the privatisation of these community services.

The campaign has received widespread support that clearly indicates that clients and the general public do not support the privatisation of these services.”

Also protesting was former local councillor, Phil Cantwell who claimed the site for the Trim Castle Hotel, the venue for the 'think-in' had originally been purchased from the Mercy sisters for use as a car park for the town.

“There should be a public car park there. Now that the bays have been marked off for outdoor dining, there is even less car spaces in Trim,” he said"

The income from this car park should go to Trim/Meath County Council and be policed by the traffic wardens the same as the main streets," he said.

Meanwhile, Minister English promised Fine Gael in Government will work to continue building a more balanced and resilient enterprise, and jobs-led economy his parliamentary party colleagues to Trim.

“This is central to the Programme for Government (PFG) and will include our talented workforce, businesses, entrepreneurs, our enterprise agencies; especially the local enterprise offices in each county, Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and our further and higher education centres.