Tuesday, 8 March 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
311. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position in regard to the proposal to decentralise his Department to Knock Airport, County Mayo; the number of personnel relocated to date; the number of personnel to be transferred; if any timetable has been set for the transfer; if it is envisaged that the relocation will be completed by 2007 as proposed in the original announcement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7820/05]
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Éamon Ó Cuív): My Department is committed to the decentralisation process being completed by 2007. This timescale is dependent on the Office of Public Works encountering no undue delays in the planning and building processes. Generally, the process of decentralisation is guided by the decentralisation implementation group.
The following steps have been taken by my Department. A dedicated decentralisation unit was set up to manage the programme. A departmental decentralisation committee made up of senior management and staff has been established to steer the decentralisation process within the Department. 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 that staff are kept informed on all aspects of the decentralisation process. Regular communication takes place between my Department and staff associations through the departmental council process. The most up to date information available on decentralisation and all documentation relating to the issue are made available on the public folders of my Department’s e-mail system. An information pack that includes a wide range of information on decentralisation areas relating to my Department’s remit has been prepared and distributed to staff. Work is in hand on 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. A revised decentralisation implementation plan is now being prepared for submission to the decentralisation implementation group. Names of serving staff transferring with my Department to Knock Airport, as well as those who have opted to transfer to other decentralised locations, have now been made available by the Public Appointments Service.
The number of posts transferring to Knock is 164 and the latest information received from the central applications facility, CAF, indicates that 157 applicants from general Civil Service grades have applied to transfer to Knock Airport.In addition, nine other Civil Service grades and ten other public servants have applied. No staff member has as yet been transferred to Knock Airport.
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