Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Tuesday, 24 February 2004

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 580 No. 5

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  112.  Mr. Kehoe  Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe   asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the position in regard to decentralisation for his Department; if a site has been finalised; the number of staff who are willing to move; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5855/04]

  117.  Mr. Broughan  Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan   asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   if, in regard to proposals for decentralisation, a survey has been undertaken to establish the number of persons employed in his Department in boards or agencies operating under the aegis of his Department who are willing to move to the new locations announced by the Minister for Finance in his budget speech; the results of such a survey; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5813/04]

  330.  Mr. Gilmore   Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore   asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the number of staff within his Department who have to date volunteered for the programme of decentralisation announced by the Minister for Finance on budget day; the grades of the staff concerned; the locations for which they have volunteered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6039/04]

Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. D. Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  I propose to take Questions Nos. 112, 117 and 330 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government’s budget day announcement on decentralisation provides for the relocation of my Department’s headquarters and 425 staff from Dublin to Cavan. It also provides for Bord [1251]Iascaigh Mhara to relocate to Clonakilty while the Central Fisheries Board will move to Carrick-on-Shannon.

Following this announcement, my Department conducted an informal survey of staff in January last to determine preliminary levels of interest in decentralising to any of the designated locations. The results of the survey showed that approximately 7% of respondents were interested in moving to Cavan; 28% expressed interest in other locations; and a further 24% fell into the “don’t know” category.

I stress that this exercise was very much a point in time straw poll and that staff did not have the benefit of specific details regarding work areas being relocated, timing of decentralisation or in respect of facilities and amenities in the Cavan area. Since the survey was carried out, an information pack compiled by Cavan County Council has been distributed to all staff in my Department. This provides details on availability and price of housing, educational facilities, health services, and sports and recreational facilities.

The Office of Public Works, which is co-ordinating the property aspects of the decentralisation programme, is currently carrying out an initial assessment of proposals received from the owners of sites and properties in the designated locations and will report to the implementation group as well as liaise with individual Departments. The provision of high quality office accommodation for staff will be a primary consideration in the assessment of the property options in all locations.

The Central Fisheries Board, CFB, has not conducted a staff survey on decentralisation. BIM is currently carrying out a preliminary survey, but the results are not yet available.


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