Priority Questions. - Departmental Offices.

Gerry Reynolds

Ceist:

65 Mr. G. Reynolds asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development when he decided to have a district veterinary office for County Leitrim located in Drumshambo, County Leitrim; and when he expects the opening of this office to take place. [14255/01]

The question of establishing an office in County Leitrim is under review. Consideration of the matter includes consultation with my Department's staff and clients, and discussions with both the Office of Public Works, which is responsible for providing accommodation for my Department, and the Department of Finance which is responsible for sanctioning expenditure on the development of new offices. When consideration of these matters is completed, a final decision will be taken.

I am disappointed with that answer because I have a copy here of the Leitrim Observer, dated February, which contains an article entitled “DVO gets the go ahead for Drumshambo”.

It is not in order to quote during Question Time.

I am just asking the Minister about the statement made by Deputy Ellis, and the Taoiseach when he visited Leitrim in October last, that a DVO would be established in Drumshambo, County Leitrim. That decision has not been followed-up.

Can the Minister confirm that a meeting took place in his Department between the Taoiseach, the Secretary General and the Minister on the establishment of a DVO in County Leitrim, as that is only one of two counties which does not have its own DVO? Can he also confirm that on numerous occasions the local IFA committee has requested the Minister to establish the office in County Leitrim due to the fact that there are difficulties of space in the offices in Sligo and that the Department is looking at alternative arrangements for the DVO in Sligo? When will a decision be made to locate a DVO in County Leitrim?

Political and other representations have been made to the Department by the Deputy, Deputies Ellis and Matt Brennan, Senator Mooney, Mr. Joe McCartan MEP, the IFA generally and the IFA Leitrim executive. The Taoiseach visited Leitrim and sought to progress this decision. There is overcrowding in the Sligo office, where there are approximately 100 staff. However, the matter is progressing and consultations are taking place with the various bodies. As the Deputy will be aware, the Office of Public Works and other bodies move at their own pace, but we will try to get—

Has a decision been made?

When will the decision be made?

When the consultations are complete.

The Minister responsible for the Office of Public Works, Deputy Cullen, is busy making public statements.

That concludes Priority Questions.