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Smith announces reorganisation of Local Office Network

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith T.D., today announced the immediate commencement of the reorganisation of the Department's local office network.  A new structure of sixteen offices will provide for the co-location of staff currently based in the twenty-eight District Veterinary Offices, twenty Agricultural Environment and Structures Offices and ten Forestry Offices. This new integrated structure will lead to improved customer services and a more efficient and cost effective service delivery model at regional rather than county level.

The Minister said that this plan is an important phase in the ongoing reorganisation of the Department, building on its significant investment in information technology, its success in disease eradication and takes account of the changes arising from CAP reform, the continued implementation of the Department's Decentralisation plan, the findings of the Organisational Review Programme and the objectives set out in the Government's 'Transforming Public Services' Programme. The new structure is more coherent with national policy for customer service delivery across the public sector and will provide for an enhanced service level to the farming community and the wider agri-food sector, as well as a cost effective service for the taxpayer.

The aim of this reorganisation is to rationalise the overall number of locations across the country so as to facilitate the more efficient management of schemes, services and disease levels. In doing so it will provide an improved customer service in each region of the country while at the same time reducing the cost of delivering the services provided for the Department's many customers and stakeholders.

In addition the new regional structure will facilitate the retention of the appropriate number of staff required in each location, while at the same time maintaining a very high quality of services across the country.

"This decision, when fully implemented, will result in financial savings in my Department's running costs of some €30 million annually and the reduction of over 400 staff, to be achieved in large part over the coming 12 months. By rationalising our local office network we can improve services to our clients by concentrating the remaining staff resources of approximately 1,000 people at the newly developed centres. This initiative is part of a continuous process of modernisation of the Department. I would like to express my appreciation to the staff in our local offices for their contribution to the work of the Department over the years".

Implementation of the plan will commence without delay and the Minister has set a target of twelve months for its completion. Minister Smith also confirmed that, as part of the implementation phase, he intends to pursue the relocation of the newly merged Cork local office to a provincial location north of Cork City.

NOTE FOR EDITORS

The attached table shows the new enhanced regional office locations in column 1, the locations being vacated in column 2 and other Department locations in column 3.

The Department employs some 4,000 staff in over 200 locations.  Over 100 of these locations are in state owned or leased premises and include 28 District Veterinary Offices, 20 stand alone Agricultural Environment and Structures Offices, 13 Fisheries Centres, 10 Laboratories, 10 Forestry Offices, 6 Main Offices and 5 Farms.

Approximately 2000 of the Department's total staff complement are involved in food safety related activities.  Of this some five hundred Department staff are engaged on food safety duties in over 100 facilities owned by food businesses.  The Department is currently reviewing the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations at these locations. Other areas of the Department's operations currently undergoing major change, or being reviewed, include the Laboratories, Farms, and Portal Operations and the six main offices in Dublin, Portlaoise, Cavan, Wexford, Clonakilty and Backweston.

The Reorganisation of the Department over the last four years has yielded significant savings. Since early 2005, the Department has reduced its staff numbers by 700, including the transfer of 400 staff to other Government Departments, mainly the Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform (for the operation of the PULSE system in Castlebar) and Local Offices of the Department of Social & Family Affairs and other Departments in all counties.

In addition a further 600 staff were redeployed internally to new and expanding work areas including the Single Payment Scheme and the implementation of new environmental, food safety and animal health controls required by the EU. These savings reflect changes in the Department's work practices, improved business processes, the greater use of computerisation and the wind up of livestock offices as well as changes arising from CAP reform.

Internal reviews of the Department's operations have highlighted changes in the workload at local level due to:

  • Significant decreases in the incidence of animal diseases;
  • CAP reform giving rise to changes in the delivery of schemes and services;
  • Investment in information technology, especially in the areas of animal health & welfare, customer management, animal movement identification and the management of field inspections;
  • Termination of a number of schemes and rationalisation of others;
  • Advances in the broader areas of transport and communications; and
  • A decline in the number of farms.

List of state funded locations occupied by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

 Enhanced  Offices (16) Offices to be vacated (42)  Other Department Locations (55) 
Cavan (Cavan Town) Carlow Town Forest Service Office  Cavan Town Main Office
Cork (Cork City) Carlow Town District Veterinary Office  Cavan Town Record Storage 
Cork (Clonakilty)  Cavan Town Agricultural Environment Structures Office  Clare (Shannon) Portal Veterinary Office 
  Clare (Ennis) Forest Service Office  Cork (Clonakilty) Fisheries Main Office 
Donegal (Raphoe)  Clare (Ennis) District Veterinary Office  Cork (Kilworth) Farm 
Galway (Dockgate Bld, G/City)  Cork (Mallow) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Cork (Bishopstown) BTL Laboratory 
  Cork (Cork City) Forest Service Office Cork (Bishopstown) DSL Laboratory
Kerry (Tralee)  Cork (Skibbereen) Forest Service Office  Cork (Bishopstown) RVL Laboratory 
Kildare (Naas) Cork (Cork City) District Veterinary Office * 2 District Veterinary Offices in Cork City Centre to be merged  Cork (Mahon) Fisheries Engineering Division 
Leitrim (Drumshanbo)  Donegal (Letterkenny) Agricultural Environment Structures Offices  Cork (Castletownbere) Fisheries Engineering Division 
Limerick (Raheen)  Donegal (Donegal Town) Agricultural Environment Structures Office  Cork (Lapps Quay) Portal Inspection Office
Mayo (Castlebar)  Donegal (Glenties) Forest Service  Cork (Airport) Portal Inspection Office 
Meath (Navan) Donegal (Letterkenny) Forest Service Cork (Tivoli docks) Portal Inspection Office
Offaly (Tullamore)   Donegal (Raphoe) Farm 
Roscommon (Roscommon Town) Dublin (Tallaght) District Veterinary Office Donegal (Ballyshannon) Fisheries Engineering Division 
Tipperary (Tipperary Town) Galway (Loughrea) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Donegal (Killybegs) Fisheries Engineering Division
Waterford (The Glen Waterford City) Galway (Tuam) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Donegal (Greencastle) Fisheries Harbour 
Wexford (Enniscorthy) Galway (Athenry) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Dublin (Kildare St) Main Office 
  Kerry (Killarney) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Dublin (Stephens Green) Main Office 
  Kerry (Castleisland) Forest Service Office Dublin (Swords) Horticulture Inspection Office
    Dublin (Bow Street) Horticulture Inspection Office 
  Kildare (Sallins Rd, Naas) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Dublin (UCD, Belfield) Laboratory
  Kilkenny (Kilkenny City) District Veterinary Office Dublin (Sandyford) Stores 
  Laois (Portlaoise) District Veterinary Office Dublin (Bishop's Street) Record Storage 
  Leitrim (Carrick-on-Shannon) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Dublin (Leeson Lane) Fisheries Engineering Division 
  Longford (Longford Town) District Veterinary Office Dublin (Howth Harbour) Fisheries Harbour
  Louth (Dundalk) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Dublin (Airport) Portal Inspection Office 
  Louth (Drogheda) District Veterinary Office Dublin (East Wall) Portal Inspection Office 
  Mayo (Ballina) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Dublin (Dunlaoighre) Portal Inspection Office 
  Mayo (Claremorris) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Galway (Ross House, G/City) Fisheries Engineering Division 
  Monaghan (Monaghan Town) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Galway (Killary) Fisheries Harbour 
  Offaly (Birr) Forest Service Office Galway (Rossveal) Fisheries Harbour 
    Kerry (An Daingean) Fisheries Harbour 
  Sligo (Sligo Town) District Veterinary Office Kerry (Tralee) Fisheries Engineering Division 
  Tipperary (Thurles) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Kildare (Backweston) Main Office 
  Tipperary (Clonmel) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Kildare (Leixlip) Farm 
  Tipperary (Cahir) Forest Service Office Kildare (Celbridge) Farm 
  Tipperary (Nenagh) District Veterinary Office Kildare (Backweston) Laboratory 
  Waterford (Dungarvan) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Kilkenny (Kilkenny City) Laboratory 
  Waterford (The Quay, Waterford City) Forest Service Office Laois (Portlaoise) Main Office * Current Accommodation pending construction of decentralised office in Portlaoise 
  Westmeath (Athlone) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Laois (Portlaoise) Main Office* Temporary Accommodation at Grattan Business Park pending construction of decentralised office in Portlaoise 
  Westmeath (Mullingar) District Veterinary Office) Laois (Portlaoise) Main Office* Temporary Accommodation at Eircom Buildings pending construction of decentralised office in Portlaoise 
  Wicklow (Baltinglass) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Laois (Portlaoise) Main Office* Temporary Accommodation at Kealew Business Park pending construction of decentralised office in Portlaoise 
  Wicklow (Wicklow Town) Agricultural Environment Structures Office Laois (Portlaoise) Main Office* Temporary Accommodation at Kilminchy Business Park pending construction of decentralised office in Portlaoise 
  Laois (Portlaoise) Main Office* Temporary Accommodation at Gandon Court pending construction of decentralised office in Portlaoise  
    Laois (Timahoe Rd, Portlaoise) Record Storage 
    Laois (Clonminan, Portlaoise) Record Storage
    Limerick (Limerick City) DSL Laboratory
    Limerick (Limerick City) RVL Laboratory
Monaghan (Ballybay)
Sligo (Doonally) Laboratory
Waterford (Dunmore East) Fisheries Harbour
Waterford (Bellview Port) Portal Inspection Office
Westmeath (Coosan, Pearse St. Athlone) Laboratory
Wexford (Johnstown Castle) Main Office
Wexford (New Ross) Portal Inspection Office
Wexford (Rosslare Harbour) Portal Veterinary Office

Date Released: 17 July 2009