Sligo-North Leitrim Senator Marc Mac Sharry has described as disgraceful the Fine Gael/Labour Government’s decision to close the decentralised office of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Tubbercurry, County Sligo and relocate it to Ballina, County Mayo.

“Under this plan the leasing arrangements in Tubbercurry will be terminated, short-terms lease will be sought and staff will be encouraged to agree to relocate to Ballina.  There are many people who will quite rightly be asking why they are being moved out of the Sligo and into the Taoiseach’s own constituency when they are more than happy to work where they are.

The Department of Public Expenditure says ‘it is proposed to retain some staff in situ in the short term, under flexible leasing arrangements, with the aim of maximising the number of staff moving to Ballina over time, and the redeployment of the remaining staff to other civil and public service employers in the general vicinity being facilitated through existing redeployment mechanisms.’ 

Senator Mac Sharry said: “This is another example of the lack of priority being shown to Sligo by this government.  It is now one year on since Fine Gael made one of its most cynical election promises to restore cancer services to Sligo General Hospital with no intention of delivering on it.  John Perry even stated publicly that he would resign from Fine Gael is this was not done but has since abandoned his commitments.”

“Minister Perry has said it was a ‘mistake’ to make the promise on surgical cancer services in Sligo. But the Minister commitment wasn’t a slip of the tongue. It was deliberate and politically motivated and he should apologise for it.  Fine Gael and Labour have again failed the people of Sligo with the announcement of the closure of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs’ office in Tubbercurry and move it into the Taoiseach’s constituency in Ballina. This decision should be immediately reversed and I am calling on FG and Labour’s TD and Senators to ensure that it is.”