Eir CEO says opening a call centre in Sligo was a "mistake" as staff weren't sufficiently skilled 1 month ago

Eir CEO says opening a call centre in Sligo was a "mistake" as staff weren't sufficiently skilled

She also said that some staff hired for Eir customer care this year couldn't work from home because, in some cases, their connection wasn't good enough.

The CEO of Eir has said that opening a call centre in Sligo was a "mistake", as some of the staff hired weren't skilled or trained to the correct level.

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Carolan Lennon told an Oireachtas Communications Committee on Wednesday that choosing Sligo was a mistake because there was no history of contact centres in the area.

"When we were hiring local staff, many of them came into us from retail or hospitality. They came in because they wanted to build a career in Eir," Lennon said.

That was a challenge. It took us longer to train them."

Sligo's own Marc MacSharry then informed her that Sligo does have a history of contact centres, and Lennon retracted her statement.

She then said: "The vast majority of people we hired from Sligo didn't come from contact centres."

Minister of State and Sligo-Leitrim TD Frank Feighan has since said he would write to Eir, as he does not believe the comments made about Sligo are accurate.

In a statement, he said: "I have been receiving phone calls all morning from irate staff at Eir and from the business community in Sligo who are concerned about the consequences of such comments on future investment from call centre companies in Sligo and the North West region.

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"I will be writing to the CEO today as after speaking with local stakeholders on the ground in Sligo, I don’t believe the comments made about Sligo to be accurate".

Lennon has since released a statement to clarify that the mistakes made were made by her management team, and that she is "proud" of the Sligo centre.

She said: "Eir is committed to Sligo, we are committed to our Rathedmond care centre, just as we are committed to the hundreds of Eir employees working in care and field operations throughout the region and indeed, the thousands of Eir employees working all across Ireland.

"When I spoke of mistakes made in relation to Sligo, I wish to clarify that I was referring to mistakes I, and my management team made in underestimating the complexities of building a care centre on a greenfield site.

"We have a talented team in Sligo and we also have every support we could ask for from the IDA and regional authorities, which we are grateful for. We are extremely proud of our Sligo centre and before the pandemic hit we were meeting every target set for care.

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"We are steadily progressing on our plan to return to an acceptable level of care and I wish to apologise to any customer who has faced long wait times in recent months and thank all of our colleagues for their ongoing commitment and hard work throughout the pandemic."