Sinn Féin councillor Thérèse Ruane has expressed her disappointment that the Community Employment Scheme based at the Davitt Museum in Straide will cease today, Friday, November 30. She is appealing to the Davitt committee to reverse this decision to ensure that the museum can remain open and that the jobs of 21 workers can be saved and that the legacy of Michael Davitt be kept alive in the place of his birth.
Cllr Ruane said, “I have met with the workers over in the Davitt Museum over the past few weeks. The decision to discontinue the scheme came as an awful shock to workers when they received a letter from the Davitt committee on October 11 last.
“The workers have sought to meet the committee to discuss this decision that came out of the blue, and to work with the committee to explore how they could ensure that the scheme continues, their jobs remain safe, and that the Davitt museum remain open and developed further. A meeting with SIPTU and the committee took place on Tuesday, November 20 last but the Davitt committee will not reverse this decision. I am extremely disappointed that the workers will now become unemployed, something that I believe can be avoided. It is still not too late for the Davitt Committee to reverse this decision and I am appealing to them to review the closure of this scheme to save people's jobs and to ensure that the Davitt Museum can remain open. Cutbacks and the lack of funds are being cited as causes for closure of scheme. However, Minister Joan Burton categorically stated in the Dáil last year that no community would lose a scheme due to the cutbacks she was implementing. I firmly believe that if the Davitt committee liaise with the local community, with SIPTU, FAS, this scheme can continue into the future, jobs saved, and the Davitt Museum in Straide can remain open. If this scheme ends, there is no guarantee that another scheme or programme will be available in the future. The museum contains an extensive collection of documents, photos, Land Acts, letters, postcards, posters, and other items connected with Davitt's life. These will have to preserved, and heating and electricity costs will ensue regardless. Meanwhile the museum would remain closed and the audiovisual and guided tours no longer be available to visiting groups.”