Unfinished FÁS project cost taxpayers €4m

Thursday 05 December 2013 20.55
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The Tipperary Hostel Project was set up with the aim of converting a famine workhouse into a tourist hostel
The Tipperary Hostel Project was set up with the aim of converting a famine workhouse into a tourist hostel
Only a chapel on the site in Tipperary was ever completed
Only a chapel on the site in Tipperary was ever completed
FÁS trainees painted Rockwell Rovers GAA Club in down time from the hostel project
FÁS trainees painted Rockwell Rovers GAA Club in down time from the hostel project

The Public Accounts Committee is to investigate a controversial re-development project in Co Tipperary, which was mainly funded by FÁS, and is still unfinished a decade later and after costing taxpayers more than €4m.

The Tipperary Hostel Project was set up with the principal aim of converting a famine workhouse into a tourist hostel.

The project was supposed to last four years, however a team of up to 23 FÁS trainees ended up working on-and-off here for more than 10 years, yet only a chapel on the site was ever completed. 

Now FÁS, the major funders of the project through the Jobs Initiative Scheme, is in the spotlight for allowing money earmarked for the hostel to be spent on dozens of other community projects. 

During down time on the hostel project FÁS trainees were assigned to work on at least 40 other community projects including painting Rockwell Rovers GAA Club.

Work was carried out not only on community projects, 20 Tipperary residents had their houses refurbished.

A detailed list of this work, obtained by RTÉ, reveals that extensions, new porches, painting and decorating were all carried out at private dwellings.

FÁS, now called Solas, told RTÉ that it was not acceptable for FÁS trainees to work on private homes. 

Now the Public Accounts Committee want to know what happened to all the money earmarked for the hostel.

A separate garda investigation is also under way into the Tipperary hostel scheme.

Keywords: tipperary