Dáil Éireann - Volume 666 - 05 November, 2008

Written Answers. - Decentralisation Programme.

Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the travel costs budgeted for, and the costs expected to arise, from the decentralisation of Irish Aid to Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38448/08]

[169] Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of agencies and sections within his Department whose planned decentralisation has been postponed due to the budgetary considerations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38444/08]

Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of civil servants in his Department whose jobs are being decentralised but who are themselves staying in Dublin and being assigned to other duties; the number of additional staff hired to fill such vacancies caused by decentralisation; the costs involved in 2008; the scheduled cost for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38446/08]

  Deputy Micheál Martin: I propose to take Questions Nos. 111, 115 and 120 together.

Under the Government’s decentralisation programme announced in 2003, 125 posts attached to the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs were to decentralise to Limerick. The Division is the Headquarters of Irish Aid. Following sanction of an additional 20 posts by the Department of Finance in 2005, the total number of posts attached to Irish Aid Headquarters increased to 145. Of these, 138 are transferring to Limerick.

The total travel budget for Irish Aid in 2008 is €3.05 million. There is no specific allocation for travel costs related to decentralisation.

Of the 108 staff assigned to Irish Aid at the time decentralisation was announced, 14%, or 15 officials, were transferred to other areas of the Department or to other Departments as a direct result of decentralisation. It is in the nature of the work of the Department that staff transfer between Divisions at HQ, and indeed to Embassies abroad, on a regular basis. This routine rotation accounts for the balance of the staff transfers from Irish Aid.

As the decentralisation of Irish Aid did not result in any increase in the total sanctioned number of staff for the Department, there were no additional staffing costs in 2008 and none are anticipated for 2009. The number of staff joining the Department in order to decentralise to Limerick was balanced by the number leaving through retirement, promotion or transfer to other Departments.

The decentralisation of Irish Aid Headquarters has not been postponed due to budgetary considerations. The move to Limerick will be completed next week, when staff move into a new headquarters building.