Dáil Éireann - Volume 637 - 03 July, 2007
Written Answers. - Decentralisation Programme.
Deputy Olwyn Enright Deputy Olwyn Enright
Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the timescale for the decentralisation of Irish Aid; the latest discussions that he has held with interested parties in respect of the move; the steps being taken to preserve the institutional memory of the organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18722/07]
Deputy Emmet Stagg Deputy Emmet Stagg
Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress being achieved with regard to the ongoing decentralisation to Limerick of Irish Aid; if pursuant to a previous response he believes that full decentralisation will proceed in the second half of 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18675/07]
Deputy Olivia Mitchell Deputy Olivia Mitchell
 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of staff members of Irish Aid who have signalled their intention to decentralise; their roles and positions within the organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18723/07]
Deputy Jim O’Keeffe Deputy Jim O’Keeffe
Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when and the way he plans to proceed with decentralisation in his Department; the way it will be implemented; the resources that will be made available; the extent to which it will be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18434/07]
Deputy Michael P. Kitt Deputy Michael P. Kitt
Deputy Michael P. Kitt: I propose to take Questions Nos. 105, 162, 163 and 277 together.
Under the Government’s decentralisation programme, the Development Cooperation Directorate of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is Irish Aid’s Headquarters, will decentralise to Limerick. This is scheduled to take place early in 2008 on completion of the premises which are currently under construction. It will involve the relocation to Limerick of 124 posts. Good progress has been made and personnel have either been assigned to, or identified for, 101 posts or approximately 82% of the 124 posts scheduled to be decentralised. An advance party involving over 50 staff has already decentralised to interim office premises in Limerick.
The current staffing position is as follows:
66 posts in Irish Aid are filled by officers who have either already taken part in the advance move or signalled their intention to decentralise to Limerick. The majority of positions filled are in the diplomatic and general service grades at all levels. Importantly, the key posts of Director General, seven Counsellors/Principal Officers (heads of section) and the Financial Controller are filled by personnel who are moving to Limerick.
A further 17 officers who are serving elsewhere in the Department, mostly abroad, are also expected to decentralise to Limerick and will be taking up duty in Irish Aid in advance of the move.
In addition, 18 officers from other Departments who have applied to decentralise to Limerick, most of whom are currently based in provincial locations, will transfer to the Department closer to the date of the move.
As regards development specialists, they perform an important role in the business of Irish Aid. The specialists work alongside diplomatic and general service staff, in close contact and co-operation with each business unit within the Division.  There are a number of issues still to be resolved with regard to the specialist posts which are scheduled to move. Discussions are ongoing at a very senior level with representatives of the specialists, with their union IMPACT and with the Departments of Finance and Foreign Affairs in order to resolve the outstanding issues. Progress has been made and I hope that these discussions can be brought to a successful conclusion at an early date.
The transfer of Irish Aid to Limerick presents significant challenges. Risk management issues are being addressed through planning and risk management strategies. This involves adequate handover periods in order to ensure the retention of corporate memory. Appropriate training and induction courses are being provided and will continue to be provided for new staff. Staffing changes have been and continue to be phased in order to facilitate this process.
As stated in the Programme for Government, decentralisation is a Government decision and the Government is committed to moving ahead with its implementation.
Dáil Éireann 637 Written Answers. Decentralisation Programme.