Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Questions (204)

John Browne

Question:

204. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will arrange to have adequate administrative staff available to deal with farmers' queries at all times at the DVO office in Enniscorthy town, County Wexford; the reason this has not been the case in recent months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15613/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department continues to maintain a public office in Enniscorthy. While the administrative functions are being transferred from that office to the Castlebar office, the Department's vets, inspectors and technical officers remain in place to service our clients across all of the schemes that are provided from these offices. I am satisfied that frontline services can be fully maintained with current staffing levels and that public access for all of the Department's stakeholders will continue to be available in the Enniscorthy office.

The transfer of these functions arises from an extensive review of the local office structure which was carried out by the Department over the last number of years. This review concluded that, arising from the investment in technology and the substantial reduction in disease levels in recent years, significant efficiencies would accrue from the centralisation of administrative functions in two centres, thereby giving rise to significant scope for redeployment of administrative staff from existing local offices. The process of centralising the administrative functions commenced in 2012 and is on-going.

In line with Government policy, the Department has actively sought redeployment opportunities for administrative staff in local offices. Redeployed staff have already been transferred from the local offices in Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford and Tullamore as well as Enniscorthy to other Departments and agencies such as Revenue Commissioners, Department of Justice and the Shared services areas of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in order to enable those bodies to provide important services such as property tax, Garda Vetting etc.