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Decentralisation to Macroom on track - Coughlan

On a visit to Macroom today, the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, updated locals on the decentralisation of Department of Agriculture and Food laboratories to the town, saying that construction in Macroom is scheduled to start towards the end of 2007.

"The Office of Public Works is currently evaluating responses received following our call for a site to locate the new laboratory building. This process should be complete within the coming months and, following site selection, the Decentralisation Implementation Group expect construction to get underway in the last quarter of 2007. With completion scheduled for 2009, the new state-of-the-art facility will then see up to 100 civil service posts move to the town."

Decentralisation to Macroom involves the relocation of laboratories, currently located in Limerick and Cork, into one new laboratory complex at Macroom.

Minister Coughlan acknowledged that there currently is a shortfall in applications from existing specialist laboratory staff, but that the Department of Finance is examining, in consultation with the relevant union representatives, how to overcome the difficulties.

"As with decentralisation generally, the relocation of staff from their current location to the new complex in Macroom is on a voluntary basis. Macroom has proved to be a popular choice however, with 87 applications so far and we are working on the specialised staff issue. I am confident that the full complement of staff, including specialist laboratory staff, will be in a position to move to the town come 2009.

"Decentralisation will be good news for Macroom and the surrounding area. Our thinking in the delivery of decentralised jobs is to widen the spread of civil service career options throughout the country. It was a bold move when announced three years ago, but one that will be of significant and lasting benefit to both Macroom and rural Ireland as a whole going forward."

8 December, 2006

Date Released: 08 December 2006