Written Answers. - Decentralisation Programme.

Tuesday, 16 December 2003

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 577 No. 3

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[730]

  548.  Ms Harkin  Information on Marian Harkin  Zoom on Marian Harkin   asked the Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government  Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen   if, in view of the Government's policy on decentralisation to 53 different locations throughout the country, he will reconsider the current proposal to locate the regional offices of the national parks and wildlife service, Sligo and relocate them to Ballinafad, County Sligo, as such a move would avoid the imminent threat to the viability of this excellent community project. [30905/03]

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  I refer to the reply to Questions Nos. 488 and 489 of 11 November 2003. As that reply indicated, consideration of options for accommodating the staff unit involved is continuing.

[731]

  549.  Mr. J. Bruton  Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton   asked the Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government  Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen   the number and grade of the staff to move from Dublin to Waterford in regard to the move of his Department staff; the square footage of the office in which those staff are currently located in Dublin; if the office is owned by the State; if not, the plans for the disposal of this office once the proposed move has been effected; the precise location in Waterford to which the staff will move; the proposed square footage of the office accommodation to be provided there; if the accommodation in question is already built; if not, the plans for building the accommodation; if his Department staff will be maintaining a location in Dublin in order to provide a base for assistance to him in regard to Dáil Éireann business, meeting delegations and so on; if so, the location of this accommodation; if discussions have taken place with staff interests with regard to the move; if the staff moving will be eligible for disturbance money; if not, if an estimate has been made of the additional travelling costs and expenses claims which will be incurred; when he expects the move to Waterford to be fully complete; if he expects that difficulties will arise in regard to the administration of policy in his Department arising from the fact that the office will no longer be close; and if arrangements will be made for civil servants who are local authority tenants in Dublin to obtain similar tenancies in Waterford. [31029/03]

  550.  Mr. J. Bruton  Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton   asked the Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government  Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen   the number and grade of the staff to move from Dublin to New Ross in regard to the move of his Department staff; the square footage of the office in which those staff are currently located in Dublin; if the office is owned by the State; if not, the plans for the disposal of this office once the proposed move has been effected; the precise location in New Ross to which the staff will move; the proposed square footage of the office accommodation to be provided there; if the accommodation in question is already built; if not, the plans for building the accommodation; if his Department staff will be maintaining a location in Dublin in order to provide a base for assistance to him in regard to Dáil Éireann business, meeting delegations and so on; if so, the location of this accommodation; if discussions have taken place with staff interests with regard to the move; if the staff moving will be eligible for disturbance money; if not, if an estimate has been made of the additional travelling costs and expenses claims which will be incurred; when he expects the move to New Ross to be fully complete; if he expects that difficulties will arise in regard to the administration of policy in his Department arising from the fact that the office will no longer be close; and if arrangements will be made for civil servants who are local authority tenants in Dublin to obtain similar tenancies in New Ross. [31030/03]

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  551.  Mr. J. Bruton  Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton   asked the Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government  Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen   the number and grade of the staff to move from Dublin to Kilkenny in regard to the move of his Department staff; the square footage of the office in which those staff are currently located in Dublin; if the office is owned by the State; if not, the plans for the disposal of this office once the proposed move has been effected; the precise location in Kilkenny to which the staff will move; the proposed square footage of the office accommodation to be provided there; if the accommodation in question is already built; if not, the plans for building the accommodation; if his Department staff will be maintaining a location in Dublin in order to provide a base for assistance to him in regard to Dáil Éireann business, meeting delegations and so on; if so, the location of this accommodation; if discussions have taken place with staff interests with regard to the move; if the staff moving will be eligible for disturbance money; if not, if an estimate has been made of the additional travelling costs and expenses claims which will be incurred; when he expects the move to Kilkenny to be fully complete; if he expects that difficulties will arise in regard to the administration of policy in his Department arising from the fact that the office will no longer be close; and if arrangements will be made for civil servants who are local authority tenants in Dublin to obtain similar tenancies in Kilkenny. [31031/03]

  552.  Mr. J. Bruton  Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton   asked the Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government  Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen   the number and grade of the staff to move from Dublin to Wexford in regard to the move of his Department headquarters; the square footage of the office in which those staff are currently located in Dublin; if the office is owned by the State; if not, the plans for the disposal of this office once the proposed move has been effected; the precise location in Wexford to which the staff will move; the proposed square footage of the office accommodation to be provided there; if the accommodation in question is already built; if not, the plans for building the accommodation; if his Department headquarters will be maintaining a location in Dublin in order to provide a base for assistance to him in regard to Dáil Éireann business, meeting delegations and so on; if so, the location of this accommodation; if discussions have taken place with staff interests with regard to the move; if the staff moving will be eligible for disturbance money; if not, if an estimate has been made of the additional travelling costs and expenses claims which will be incurred; when he expects the move to Wexford to be fully complete; if he expects that difficulties will arise in regard to the administration of policy in his Department arising from the fact that the office will no longer be close; and if arrangements will be made for civil servants who are local authority tenants in Dublin to obtain similar tenancies in Wexford. [31061/03]

[733]

  553.  Mr. J. Bruton  Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton   asked the Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government  Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen   the number and grade of the staff to move from Dublin to Wexford in regard to the move of the NBA; the square footage of the office in which those staff are currently located in Dublin; if the office is owned by the State; if not, the plans for the disposal of this office once the proposed move has been effected; the precise location in Wexford to which the staff will move; the proposed square footage of the office accommodation to be provided there; if the accommodation in question is already built; if not, the plans for building the accommodation; if the NBA will be maintaining a location in Dublin in order to provide a base for assistance to him in regard to Dáil Éireann business, meeting delegations and so on; if so, the location of this accommodation; if discussions have taken place with staff interests with regard to the move; if the staff moving will be eligible for disturbance money; if not, if an estimate has been made of the additional travelling costs and expenses claims which will be incurred; when he expects the move to Wexford to be fully complete; if he expects that difficulties will arise in regard to the administration of policy in his Department arising from the fact that the office will no longer be close; and if arrangements will be made for civil servants who are local authority tenants in Dublin to obtain similar tenancies in Wexford. [31062/03]

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  I propose to take Questions Nos. 549 to 553, inclusive, together.

Details of the numbers of departmental staff who will move to Wexford, New Ross, Waterford and Kilkenny are found in Table 3 of the summary of the 2004 budget measures announced by the Minister for Finance on 3 December 2003. The number of National Building Agency staff to be decentralised to Wexford is also set out. As all of the functions of my Department, with the exception of Met Éireann and Dublin local services, are to move there, it is likely that there will be a substantial complement of grades in each location, although the precise details remain to be determined.

My Department has 1,137 members of staff at 22 locations in Dublin. This number will reduce when staff dealing with operational aspects of the built heritage transfer shortly to the Office of Public Works, which is responsible for all property issues relating to our current and future accommodation requirements. Information about the accommodation of the National Building Agency is not held in my Department. Arising from the announcement by the Minister for Finance, my Department has held meetings of its partnership committee and departmental council. It has also moved to establish an internal implementation team and will fully support and liaise with the central implementation arrangements.

Decentralisation is to be implemented on a voluntary basis and the question of disturbance payments does not arise. Staff transferring to decentralised offices will be able to access their housing requirements either in the private market or with the assistance of one of a number of schemes operated or supported by local authorities in relation to social or affordable housing. The operation of such social and affordable housing schemes is kept under continuing review by local authorities, under my Department's general guidance, in the light of local circumstances. The remaining details sought in the question will emerge as part of the implementation process.


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