Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Government Decentralisation.

52.

asked the Minister for Finance when it is proposed to decentralise Government by moving two of its Departments to rural Ireland.

53.

asked the Minister for Finance if in view of the statements made by the Minister for Lands and the Minister for Justice, he will state the position regarding the transfer of the Department of Lands to Castlebar.

I propose, with your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, to take questions 67 and 68 together. There has been no departure from the Government's decision regarding the transfer of the Departments of Lands and Education to Castlebar and Athlone, respectively. The provision of modern office buildings at these centres is in progress. As I indicated in my reply to a question on 23rd November, the necessary land for the purpose has been acquired and considerable progress has been made in the planning of these offices. The planning is not, however, sufficiently advanced to enable me to say when the offices will be completed.

Would the Minister specifically state if and when the Department of Lands will be transferred to Castlebar?

I have already indicated there is no change in the decision to transfer the Department of Lands to Castlebar. Preparations for such a transfer are in train. I cannot yet say when they will be completed. The first thing to do is to provide proper office accommodation. We cannot transfer the Department, even to the beautiful town of Castlebar, without suitable office accommodation. As soon as the office accommodation is available the Department will be transferred. We have the land and we are preparing plans for the building of the office.

Will the Government provide the buildings?

Yes, we intend to build them.

Would the Minister say whether this proposal, involving as I recall the transfer of the Minister, the Minister's office as well as the administration of the Department, is going ahead without any consideration being given to the Devlin Report or will the Devlin Report proposals, which would involve a concentration of policy making functions and the Minister to be kept in Dublin, be considered?

Does the Minister not accept the advice of the Minister for Lands, the advice of the Devlin Report and the advice of the Clinton Report in relation to the merging of the Department of Lands with the Department of Agriculture?

The Deputy will have to advise me on the latter document because I am not familiar with it.

It has been there a good while but there was no sensation about it.