Written answers

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Decentralisation Programme

8:00 pm

Photo of M J NolanM J Nolan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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Question 951: To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position in relation to decentralising part of his Department to Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29103/06]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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My Department has been making good progress in the relocation of 250 posts to Carlow under the Government's Decentralisation Programme. The number of posts in Business Units decentralising to Carlow, as at 15th September, is 280. Having regard to the agreed staffing protocols governing decentralisation, my Department has approached all General Service staff who expressed a first preference before 7th September 2004 i.e. "Priority Applications" for relocation to Carlow through the Central Application Facility, with good interest across all grades.

Officials in my Department have analysed the "Two to Ten" priority applicants — those who before the 7th September 2004 deadline identified Carlow as their 2nd or subsequent choice. In addition, given that there still remains a deficit in some grades my Department has assessed the post September 2004 CAF applicants, in line with Department of Finance policy.

My Department currently has 102 Carlow-bound applicants assigned within the Department, with a further 76 Carlow-bound applicants yet to be assigned to the Department. It is hoped to have all decentralising posts filled in sufficient time to ensure that staff are adequately trained in advance of the move to Carlow.

With regard to the property side of the Department's move, the Office of Public Works completed the purchase of a site in Carlow town centre late last year. On 31st May 2006, the OPW commenced the tendering process by seeking expressions of interest from developers in relation to the design, build, finance and maintenance of new office accommodation and car parking for the Department in Carlow.

On completion of this stage, a short-list of developers will be drawn up from whom tenders will be invited. Following the tender evaluation process the preferred tenderer will be requested to seek suitable planning permission. On obtaining this, the OPW will formally award the contract and construction will commence. The OPW expect construction to begin late in 2007 and the construction phase may take up to 24 months.

In order to accommodate staff who wish to move earlier than the projected building completion date, officials of my Department, in consultation with the Department of Finance and the OPW, as well as decentralising staff and Business Units, are actively exploring the option of an earlier move to Carlow, subject to securing high quality temporary accommodation. This latter option could allow for the movement of approximately 80 decentralising staff to Carlow during 2007, on a voluntary basis.


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