Tuesday, 9 November 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
119. Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress made on the decentralisation of his Department to Knock; the number of applications or expressions of interest which have been made to the central applications facility in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27969/04]
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Éamon Ó Cuív): As I indicated in reply to Questions Nos. 142 and 231 of 5 October 2004, the progress of decentralisation in all Departments is guided by the overall implementation process being carried out centrally by the decentralisation implementation group. In that context, the following steps have been taken by my Department to advance the decentralisation process: a dedicated decentralisation unit was set up to manage the programme. The unit is staffed by a higher executive officer and a clerical officer, who report to the personnel officer. This unit has prepared and distributed to staff an information pack which includes a wide range of information on decentralisation areas relating to my Department’s remit. The unit issues regular bulletins to staff with the most up to date information available on decentralisation and all documentation relating to the issue is made available on the public folders of my Department’s e-mail system. A departmental decentralisation committee has been established to steer the decentralisation process within the Department. Membership of the committee is made up of senior management and staff. A liaison officer has been appointed to facilitate communication between the Department of Finance and my Department. Special meetings of my Department’s partnership committee are held to specifically address issues arising from decentralisation and use is made of such meetings to ensure staff are kept informed on all aspects of the decentralisation process. There is regular communication between my Department and staff associations through the departmental council process.
In addition, work is in hand regarding the establishment of systems for job analysis and process mapping for each function within my Department to facilitate effective transfers of staff in the future. An initial decentralisation implementation plan for my Department has been prepared and submitted to the decentralisation implementation group. The September 2004 data obtained from the CAF system indicates that 159 civil servants and nine public servants have lodged applications for or expressed an interest in decentralisation to Knock Airport. The number of staff required by my Department for that location is 159.9.
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