Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
67. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of staff that left his Department and agencies operating under the aegis of his Department in the grace period; the contingency plans in place to ensure continuation of service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12483/12]
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): As the Deputy will be aware my Department was established on 2nd June 2011. A total of 26 civil servants have left my Department between that date and the expiry of the grace period on 29th February 2012. In relation to the public servants employed in the bodies funded from my Department’s Vote Group, I am advised that 70 public servants have left those bodies between 1st January 2010 and 29th February 2012.
In relation to the issue of contingency plans to ensure continuity of service, I can advise the Deputy that my Department, in consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, has reviewed staffing arrangements and vacancies arising across my Department with a view to ensuring the continued effective delivery of priority and key services. In line with the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014, vacancies arising from recent staff retirements are being managed through effective use of redeployment, workforce planning and business process redesign.
It will, however, be necessary to fill a small number of posts in the heritage area over the coming months so that Ireland can continue to meet its EU commitments and obligations. In this regard, I am pleased to be able to advise the Deputy that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has sanctioned an exemption from the moratorium to facilitate the filling of a number of these posts identified as being of particular importance.
Regarding bodies from my Department’s Vote Group, arrangements are being made by local management, in line with the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014, to ensure continued delivery of services. These bodies are in ongoing liaison with my Department concerning the filling of specialist posts as they arise. In this regard, I can advise the Deputy that interim arrangements to ensure the filling of certain statutory posts, pending the development of firm proposals in relation to the merger of national cultural institutions, have been sanctioned by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
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