'Error' loses Derry community groups jobs funding

Some community groups in Derry have missed out on funding to employ more than 20 long-term unemployed.

They said they are angry they lost the funding because of an error by the North West Regional College.

The college has confirmed that nine vacancies in the Step Ahead programme were overlooked due to an administrative error.

"A further 16 vacancies were unable to be processed as a result of an electronic server issue," they said.

The college runs the Step Ahead programme in partnership with the Department of Employment and Learning.

The DEL minister, Stephen Farry, said applications for vacancies closed on 21 October, and "due to a combination of an administrative error and IT problems, the vacancies were not registered by the North West Regional College before the closing date.

"As the department must be even-handed and consistent in its application of the closing date across all of our Lead Contractors, I cannot agree to accept any late applications," he said.

Sean McMonagle, from the Triax Neighbourhood Management Team, said the minister had to rethink his position.

"We were required to submit these applications by a particular time, by a particular date, and we fulfilled that," he said.

"Surely its up to DEL to recognise that and honour that.

"The people being punished here are the long-term unemployed, but also the community organisations and the wider community."

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