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Senator warns of building downturn 10.01.08

A DONEGAL senator has called for urgent measures to help train and upskill young men losing their jobs in the construction industry.
Senator Pearse Doherty was commenting following warnings from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) that thousands of men working in Ireland's construction industry were now at risk of unemployment due to the decline in the sector.
Donegal and particularly Inishowen is highly dependent on the building sector both in their own county and nationally.
The HEA this week highlighted that up to 80,000 workers in the sector have only secondary education and many left school at Junior Certificate level.
"As the construction industry continues to slow down the Government has put nothing in place to help the thousands of workers who face losing their jobs," said Senator Doherty.
“The statement from the HEA highlights a crucial fact – many of these workers do not have any education beyond second level, something which is not 
Senator Pearse Doherty warns of building downturn.
compatible to the kind of research and development economy we should be aiming to develop in this state.
“The Government must act now to make sure that every opportunity is made available to these workers to upskill and educate themselves. FÁS, in particular, have a huge role to play in this and should be provided with the resources to do so."
The Sinn Féin education spokesperson added: “Whatever resources are needed to enable people to go to college or take on alternative apprenticeships or training, must be made available.
"The cost of paying social welfare to thousands if the sector takes a more serious downturn would only amount to this kind of cash outlay after the fact and would do nothing to prevent the sort of depression that will descend on this State if jobs begin to go. The opportunity must be seized to improve our economy.”
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