Written answers

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Department of Foreign Affairs

Departmental Staff

9:00 am

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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Question 63: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the percentage increase in staff in his Department since 2000 to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31781/09]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The number of staff employed by my Department on 1 September 2009 is 1,575.

This includes 320 permanent staff who are working in the Passport Offices in Ireland and 17 permanent staff in the Passport Office London. The small number of permanent staff in the Passport Office in London is supplemented by 26 Temporary Clerical Officers who, from 1 January 2009, are included in my Department's core numbers. The total figure of 1,575 also includes approximately 300 local staff currently employed at Missions abroad.

The equivalent figure as of 1 January 2000 was 1,385. The 13.7% increase (190 staff) over the intervening period was focused on two main areas of business growth: the Passport Offices and Ireland's Development Aid Programme, Irish Aid.

In the case of the Passport Office, a total of 120 additional staff were recruited since 2006 in response to significant annual increases in the demand for passports over recent years (approximately 50% since the beginning of the decade) and the introduction of the new E-passport, featuring a biometric chip. This increase in the permanent staff enabled the Passport Office to maintain a high level of customer service while also significantly reducing the number of temporary clerical staff engaged in the lead up to, and during, the busy summer period, as well as its reliance on overtime during this peak season. In the case of the Passport Office, the cost of additional staff should be offset against the significant increase in revenue from passport receipts.

The recruitment of additional staff for Irish Aid was directly related to the rapid expansion in the scale and scope of the development assistance programme which has seen the aid budget increase from €255 million in 2000 to €696 million in 2009 These staff increases fall significantly short of levels recommended in a number of independent reports on Irish Aid.

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