Development Co-operation Ireland relocate to Henry Street Limerick
Precise details of the deal are not yet available from the Office of Public Works, the state agency charged with finding buildings for relocating public servants. It is expected, however, that extensive refurbishment will have to be done before the new offices are fitted out.
Henry Street is the chosen location for over 120 of the cream of the Irish Civil Service who are decentralising to Limerick, it has emerged.
The Development Co-operation Ireland branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs has announced they are to lease a building to the rear of the old Limerick County Council buildings under the massive Government programme.
The decentralisation process was announced in 2003 by the then Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy and sees the 125 employees of DCI, formerly Ireland Aid, move to Limerick city.
The premises is expected to be completed by mid-2007 and the building can accommodate up to 150 staff.
Minister of State for Health and Children Tim O'Malley has welcomed the news and said that he is "absolutely confident" that the level of service offered by the DCI to overseas aid recipients can and will be maintained from their new Limerick location.
"Already some 41 staff members within the Department have expressed interest in decentralising to these new offices and currently 28 are in place," Minister O'Malley said.
Despite "recent criticism and the scorn expressed by Cork Fine Gael TD, Bernard AlIen and others", Minister O'Malley said he was certain DCI would establish itself in Limerick.
Civil service unions have been resisting the decentralisation programme and aid agencies and NGO's have also been critical of the move the Limerick, claiming the overseas aid office's efforts would be hampered by being located away from Dublin, its embassies and charity headquarters.
"There will always be some people, unfortunately some of them even represent Limerick," said Minister O'Malley; "who say nothing when representatives from our commercial and administrative rivals, like Cork, try and pooh-pooh the idea of our city as the location for vital administrative and aid functions like the ones provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs, DCD section. I'm proud to say I don't understand that attitude," Minister O'Malley said.