Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Questions (23)

Seán Kyne

Question:

23. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if, in the context of the review of decentralisation necessitated by the unprecedented difficult financial position of the State, has has plans to review the possible relocation of units and sections of the public service to locations outside of Dublin in the interests of sustainable regional development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23682/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Government agreed in November 2011 that the Decentralisation Programme, announced in the December 2003 Budget Statement by the then Minister for Finance, should be cancelled in the light of the budgetary and staffing outlook. It was also agreed that a review of 22 projects should be carried out. Following completion of that review in January 2012, a total of 43 projects had been cancelled, while 50 were maintained, to be managed in the same way as other regionally based offices and Departments.  It was agreed that one project - the Defence Forces in the Curragh should proceed, on a cost effective basis, as soon as budgetary resources permit. 

Up to the date of the cancellation of the programme, about a third of the target numbers over 3,400 were decentralised.  While the decentralised offices account for less than 10% of serving civil service staff, taken together with the pre-existing regional and district offices of Departments the proportion of civil servants working outside Dublin is now just over 50%.

Given the need to focus on programmes and projects that will best support economic recovery, as well as the ongoing necessity to achieve significant expenditure savings and efficiencies, there are no plans at the present time to introduce a further programme of decentralisation.