Connaughton hopeful that agriculture staff will move to Athenry


News that half of the Department of Agriculture staff currently working in Galway City are considering a move to Athenry was welcomed this week by local Deputy Paul Connaughton.

            Deputy Connaughton said that such a move, if it goes ahead, would save the Government hundreds of thousands of euro annually in rent, and he added that he is hopeful that remaining staff in the city should also move to Athenry in coming years.

‘For months, I have been pressing for this relocation as it makes economic sense to take staff from a high-cost city centre location and move them to places where they can be accommodated at much less cost to the exchequer.  I have met with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and his officials on numerous occasions since my election in relation to this issue and am hopeful that progress can now be reported and that common sense has prevailed in relation to this issue.

‘The building in Dockgate was completely unsuitable as a place for farmers to interact with the Department as it was most difficult to access.  Farmers would find it much easier to access a building in Athenry.

‘I would be very disappointed if the full complement of staff is not moving to Athenry, but I believe that this would be a step in the right direction and I will continue to work to ensure that all staff are centrally located in Athenry.’

            ‘This relocation would be a welcome boost for Athenry, as it would bring new jobs to the town and would also see increased visits from farmers across the county as they visit the Department of Agriculture building. The new facility would be located on the Mellow’s Campus in Athenry, which has ample parking and is very accessible from all areas of the county.

            ‘I will continue to work on this issue to ensure that the maximum savings are achieved for the exchequer, while also ensuring that farmers accessing important Department of Agriculture services can do so with ease.’