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Coughlan lays foundation stone for new Decentralised Offices for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and An Bord Iascaigh Mhara in Clonakilty, Co. Cork

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today placed the foundation stone for a new €20m office complex for the Department and BIM in Clonakilty.

The 6,500 sq metre complex is under construction on a three-acre site at Clogheen in Clonakilty town and is due for completion in March 2009. The complex will accommodate 180 civil and public servants on completion and will result in a €9m payroll injection into the local economy. In addition to accommodating the Fisheries and Aquaculture Divisions of the new Department and BIM, the complex will also accommodate a new Seafood Development Centre. The Centre will support product development and market-led innovation in the seafood sector and is designed, in line with the Government's Seafood Development Strategy, to increase value added in the seafood sector.

The overall complex is being built for the OPW by Michael McNamara & Co Ltd and upward of 160 people will be employed directly on the site during the construction phase with substantial additional off-site employment also being generated.

The Minister said: "The decentralisation of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Divisions of the Department has gone very well. The available civil service posts were oversubscribed on a voluntary basis and 80 civil servants are now working in interim offices in the town. In addition a further 28 public servants are now working in the new Sea Fisheries Protection Authority in the town. I expect that, following central discussions between the Department of Finance and the Unions representing State Agency employees to resolve outstanding issues, we will see movement on the decentralisation of BIM ahead of the March 2009 completion date for this complex."

Minister Coughlan added: "The creation of this new state of the art integrated one stop shop for the seafood sector will greatly assist in providing an improved quality and range of services to the industry, enabling it to move forward in line with the Government's overall strategy to the sector."

19 October, 2007

Date Released: 19 October 2007