Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Decentralisation of Government Departments.

47.

asked the Minister for Finance if the Government have any further plans for the decentralisation of Government Departments or the headquarters of State and semi-State bodies; if so, if he will bear in mind the facilities to be offered in Tullamore, Birr and Portlaoise; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

No further plans for transferring Government Departments are at present under consideration. The facilities offered by the towns referred to by the Deputy, and by any other suitable towns, will be borne in mind if the question of further transfers should arise.

As regards the State-sponsored bodies under the aegis of my Department I am not aware of any plans for the transfer of their head offices from their present locations.

Can we take it then, that the Government have decided to abandon any further ideas of decentralisation?

Is that not the text of the reply? You have no further proposal. Perhaps since I am sitting so far back I am not hearing correctly, or perhaps the Minister is not answering as clearly as he should.

I understand that that was a voluntary decision of the Deputy. As the Deputy knows, this question of decentralisation has been kicked around for many decades——

It certainly has been.

——and this Government took positive action. It is wise for all of us, in a matter of this sort, to see how the decentralisation of these two particular Departments works, to see the problems and the difficulties before rushing wholesale into any further plans. Would the Deputy agree?

How long will we have to wait to see?

Until all the various problems involved manifest themselves and we see how it works out.

Twenty-five years?

The remaining questions will appear on tomorrow's Order Paper.