Fianna Fáil TD for Laois Sean Fleming recently raised the status of the Department of Agriculture office building in Portlaoise at a meeting of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee. Deputy Fleming discussed the issue with the newly appointed Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture.

Deputy Fleming commented, “At a meeting of the PAC on Thursday I questioned the newly appointed Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture about his plans for the department’s office building in Portlaoise. In particular I wanted to identify what efforts are being taken to ensure all staff are housed in the one building to help bring about greater efficiency.

“I have long been calling for more suitable accommodation for the department staff working in Portlaoise. The current situation is unsatisfactory as the staff are spread out across multiple office buildings in the town. This is frustrating the work that they do. Meanwhile there are staff from other departments occupying space in the main Department of Agriculture office building in the town.

“The current situation is leading to a waste of resources as there is up to €1m being paid on rent each year to house department staff in six buildings across the town. This situation has arisen because there is a lack of space for all of the staff to locate in the main office building.

“When I questioned the Secretary General about his plans he confirmed that he is looking to reduce the number of locations where department staff are located . He is working with the Office of Public Works to ensure the main office building is capable of housing all staff in the one location. The Secretary General has assured me that he is treating this matter as a top priority.

“I support the work being done to house department staff in the one location. This was always the intention when the office was moved from Dublin to Portlaoise. I will continue to pursue the matter with the Department of Agriculture and the OPW until the situation is resolved” said Deputy Fleming.