Wednesday, 22 February 1995
Dáil Éireann Debate
93. Mr. O'Leary asked the Minister for Justice the implications, if any, for employment in the accounts section of her Department's decentralised office in Killarney, County Kerry, in view of paragraph 119 on page 16 of the Programme for a Government of Renewal as agreed by each of the three parties to the present Government; the future role of her Department's staff in Killarney in view of the concern of staff members and the business community in the area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4083/95]
Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen): I am aware of the serious concern expressed by staff interests in this matter and I am pleased to have this opportunity to put on record that no decision has been taken to relocate work from my Department's offices in Killarney back to Dublin.
The intention signalled in the Government's policy agreement A Government of Renewal to designate the Garda Commissioner as accounting officer for the Garda Vote is concerned with the fundamental question and who should be responsible to the Oireachtas — through the Public Accounts Committee — for the economic, efficient and effective use of the very considerable financial resources which are provided to the Garda Síochána each year. The amount included in the 1995 Estimates is almost £413 million.
At present the Secretary of the Department of Justice is the accounting officer for five votes under my Department's control, including the Garda Vote. The change whereby the Garda Commissioner would become accounting officer is a fundamental one which raises certain issues of policy and cost, of financial control and management, and matters of administration. These are matters which must be considered thoroughly before detailed proposals can be put to Government.
The implications for the staff of my Department's Finance Division in Killarney will, of course, be fully taken into account in the examination of all the issues involved in the proposed change of accounting officer and consultations with staff interests will take place, as necessary.
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