Dundalk TD Ruairí Ó Murchú used time during a debate on the Construction Safety Licensing Bill to highlight the work being done in Louth in relation to lifelong learning and the pursuit of innovative technologies.
The Sinn Féin representative said there had been ‘significant, positive news in Louth’ particularly in relation to the Louth and Meath Education and Training Board, LMETB.
He highlighted the work at the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence in Dundalk.
He said: ‘In what is a cross-Border, multi-agency scenario, the centre deals directly with industry and asks what it needs from skill sets. We need to ensure that this happens.
‘The LMETB has been examining new construction technologies. I have seen 3D concrete printing in Drogheda, and we know that there is less waste in that. The LMETB has examined new technologies in terms of the materials being used. I believe there are proposals in that respect. The sooner the better, as that is what we need’.
Deputy Ó Murchú pointed to the need for workforce planning, ensuring that it is done properly and that departments are ‘speaking to one another’.
He said: ‘We must also ensure that the skills and labour market research unit, the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, the regional skills forum and everyone else that needs to be involved are speaking to one another’.
He also used the opportunity to raise issues about Ó Fiaich College, where his children attend at PLC and second level.
Deputy Ó Murchú said: ‘The college is being hemmed in and does not have sufficient space. This matter will need to be examined.
‘There is also a particular issue with personal assistants in further education colleges. Conversations are under way between Fórsa, the Minister’s Department and SOLAS.
‘We need to bring those to a conclusion. I believe the Minister is going to meet some of the people in his Department, DIFHE and Ó Fiaich College, but that needs to happen soon. We have a piece of work to do on inclusivity across the board’.