Dáil Éireann - Volume 658 - 01 July, 2008

Written Answers. - Decentralisation Programme.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food further to Parliamentary Question No. 56 of 21 February 2008, the status of the decentralisation plan for his Department; the number of civil servants and sections planned to be located to another location; the target date of same; the number of civil servants and sections who have relocated; the number of his original Department employees who were involved in these relocations; when the programme of decentralisation will be completed in his Department; the number of civil servants who will remain in Dublin; the percentage of the staff of his Department that will represent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25681/08]

  Deputy Brendan Smith: The Government decision on the decentralisation of my Department is that our headquarters will move to Portlaoise, involving some 600 staff; the local offices in Cork city will move to Fermoy, involving some 100 staff; and the laboratories in Cork and Limerick will move to Macroom, involving up to 100 staff. The move of the Fisheries function of my Department to Clonakilty is now substantially complete.

My Department’s original Decentralisation Implementation Plan allowed for a phased movement to Portlaoise. The 2005, 2006 and 2007 phases of decentralisation to Portlaoise were completed on schedule. The original estimate for completion of the plan was 2008, to coincide with the availability of the permanent accommodation. The OPW announced last December that a consortium, the Macquarie Partnership, has won the tender for the project to build the permanent offices in Portlaoise (as part of a public private partnership including offices in Mullingar and Carlow) and planning permission for the new building has now been granted. A revision to the Department’s Decentralisation Implementation Plan is now being considered, to reflect the changes to the timetable and the progress so far, as well as the evolving operating environment. An additional advance phase has been agreed and planning and preparations for this phase are currently underway.

Separate implementation plans for Fermoy and Macroom are in place. Sanction has been granted for the building in Fermoy and some recruitment is currently in progress. The identification of a site for Macroom is progressing. These moves are currently scheduled for completion in 2009.

In total there has been an increase of 275 full-time posts in Portlaoise and 81 in Clonakilty since the programme was announced. Of the 275 staff that transferred to Portlaoise, 111 originally worked in my Department and were relocated under the programme.

The Government Decision on my Department is that the headquarters which is currently in Dublin will move to Portlaoise. The completion of the programme depends on the availability [158] of the permanent accommodation and we are in discussion with OPW regarding the timescale for delivery of the building.