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Thread: Decentralisation

  1. #1
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    Default Decentralisation

    Is Decentralisation about to become one of the hottest political potatoes of the next twelve months?

    I think it is and I am suprised that there is no thread devoted to it exclusively - apologies in advance if I am wrong on this.

    A few points to consider:

    A recent poll was taken within the Department of Finance which has approximately 400 staff, and is earmarked for transfer to Tullamore. A total of nine people said that they would move to Tullamore.

    The Trade Unions (whom many Civil Servants believe to be largely responsible for this potential nightmare) estimate that no more than 20% will move willingly. From where I am standing this is hugely wide of the mark. I would estimate 5% tops. And that figure will be made up of "indians" who are happy to get out of Dublin and return to their roots (and a cheaper 3 bed semi), and a handful of "chiefs" who have ambitions to be Assistant Secretarys and Department Secretarys one day, and are willing to move....and move again, in order to secure those promotions.

    There are approximately 150,000 civil servants with about the same number of spouses/partners and associated family members/friends. Let's say 300,000 to 500,000. That adds up to a lot of anti-government votes come the next election.

    Limerick University's Ed Walsh was interviewed on RTE's Five Seven Live last evening. His main points were that there is no successful precedent for this. We need more joined up government, NOT less. Policy and policy making need to be centralized and concentrated not diluted.

    This is a victory for perceived local political gain over national interest. In other words, the continued success of Ireland Inc. is being sacrificed to parish pump politics.

    There is no doubt that the goverment parties believe that decentralisation will win the votes of the local publican, shopkeeper, butcher and builder and that this will outweigh any negatives associated with revolting civil servants or damage to Ireland political and administrative infrastructure.

    Have the locals in those fifty-odd centres considered the effect that this will have on their economies? Only those "fumbling in the greasy till". Take Clonakilty, which is earmared for Fisheries. Ninety people will be employed there. Think of the effect that ninety, rock solid, salaries will have on local property prices. It, and many towns like it, will become mini-Galways. The children of locals will find it more difficult to buy locally. Will the local school/hospital in Clonakilty be able to cope with ninety additional people and their families?

    In an era when most couples double job, what will the non-civil servant spouse/partner do? Has this been considered? Of course it hasn't!

    The government is, by some margin, the largest tenant in Dublin. I understand that the Office of Public works has already begun to put on the market some of its office space. I predict that, if decentralisation is carried through in full, the effect on the Dublin property market will be devastating.

    Worst of all, from a civil servants point of view, is the prospect of working in the same area for the rest of your working life - as in Fisheries in Clonakilty, or Finance in Tullamore. One of the reasons the CS remains vital and alive is that those with brains and ambition can expect to be presented with new challenges every couple of years. This will atrophy under current proposals - unless one is willing to buy and sell houses every couple years and move one's family. Crazy!

    All in all this is a repeat of the Electronic Voting fiasco. It seemed like a no-brainer from a parish pump viewpoint. But, it hasn't been thought through at all. Only when the relevant ministers wake up and smell the coffee - and listen to what heavy hitters like Ed Walsh are saying - will they drop the idea, or, at the very least, massively downscale it.

    This is, potentially, one of the biggest mistakes any government has ever made. It is incredible that the opposition have not made it a local election issue. Probably because the locals only see it as a cash cow. How wrong they could be!

    I understand that a building has already been leased in Clonakilty for Fisheries. If this is the case all over the country, and if the scheme collapses under the weight of CS lack of interest, then the bill for this fiasco will make the Electronic Voting 52m look like peanuts. Our ability to squander more and more money knows no bounds.

    Last week all civil servants received notification of the commencement of the decentralisation process. They have been given eight weeks during which to express their preferred location(s), if any. If they make no submission by July 8, it will be assumed that they do not wish to decentralise. My prediction is that the rejection of this plan will be so overwhelming that it will be abandoned soon afterwards.

    There is a Jeannie Johnston born every week.

    D.





    [Edited on 18/5/2004 by Dinarius]

    [Edited on 18/5/2004 by Dinarius]

    [Edited on 3/6/2004 by Dinarius]

  2. #2
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    Default DECENTRALISATION

    All information regarding the decentralisation process is available here:

    http://www.publicjobscaf.ie/

    D.


    [Edited on 3/6/2004 by Dinarius]

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    Default DECENTRALISATION

    And this is what Eamon Gilmore had to say...........

    http://www.politics.ie/modules.php?name ... e&sid=5086

    Indeed!

    D.

    ps...not sure how to make links active. I thought that cutting and pasting would suffice.



    [Edited on 19/5/2004 by Dinarius]

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    Default DECENTRALISATION

    Heard an employee of BIM on LiveLine this afternoon.

    BIM is earmarked for transfer to Clonakilty.

    This guy has worked for BIM for 31 years.

    He has teenage children in college.

    His wife has a career of her own - not Civil or Public Service.

    He feels that he is being forced to choose between his family or his career.

    He said that moral in BIM is at an all time low.

    The "vast majority" of BIM employees do not want to move.

    He has to apply for his job in Clonakilty! - Though he did add that if he did, he would probably get it. He has no idea what will happen if he doesn't express a wish to move to Clonakilty.

    Because he is a public and not a civil servant, there is no possibility of transfer to another department. It's fish or nothing!

    As Frank McDonald (Irish Times) said on the radio the other evening, this is the kind of thing that tin pot African dictators do when they get angry with their capital cities.

    Or, like Stalinist collective farming, the state workers are being forced into the countryside to feed the masses.

    I predict that this madness will be largely forgotten by the end of the year - sooner if FF get slaughtered in the local elections, though the smoke screen of the citizenship referendum which is starving the Euro and Local elections of any debate is working in the Government's favour.

    D.

  5. #5
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    Default DECENTRALISATION

    I have to admit to merely skimming what's above, but here's my two cents. Decentralisation was talked about today in the indo, McCreevy made a speech last night attacking those who were 'opposed' to decentralisation. He attacked opposition parties for sowing the seeds of doubt to the proposals and said the Opposition were trying to have it both ways, supporting it locally and supposedly opposing it nationally. Suddenly you are opposed to something if you raise concerns.
    It was the civil servants themselves that first raised concerns about the viability of the plan, especially the higher civil servants. Maybe if McCreevy had actually consulted them before announcing the plan he could have nipped any teething problems in the bud.
    What seems to be happening is that the opposition are being angled up for the blame if the plan doesn't go ahead in full. If the plan for decentralisation was on schedule all the government would have to do is outline what is going on and show that the oppositions concerns are misplaced.

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    Default DECENTRALISATION

    Richard Bruton was on Morning Ireland this morning arguing pretty much exactly what you say above.

    I think that the opposition has finally woken up to the fact that this is going down like a lead balloon amongst those in the Civil Service and that there is much political capital to be gained from it.

    Yesterday, on Live Line, a couple of people said that on the doorstep both FF and PD candidates and canvassers are saying that it will never go ahead. Hilarious!

    I think they'll have no problem filling the satellite/dormitory towns around Dublin. People are already living in them anyway, or they'd be happy to, or they'd like to commute to them against the traffic every day.

    But, the likes of moving the NRA to Ballinasloe when no one wants to go, or Fisheries to Clonakilty will be abandoned.

    The reason that Revenue in Limerick and Statistics in Cork have worked is that they are largely made up of pen pushers who were happy to get back to where they had come from. But, real policy and decision making remained in Dublin. That is the real maddness in all of this - the fragmentation of core decision making.

    D

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    Default DECENTRALISATION

    I have to agree with you Dinarius, this is an issue that causes me great concern. How can such a policy that effects so many people be undertaken without any cost benefit analysis? It's absolute madness.

    What comparisons have been made with other countries, I know of two possible examples Brazil where they moved everything to Brazila and Germany where they have moved half from Bonn to Berlin. I believe the Brazil example was quite successful but the German one is proving very costly(we know this because the measure such things there), even though both centres in Germany have spent vast sums of money on providing staff with the highest quality communication software there is still a need for face to face meetings and these are proving time consuming and costly even though both Berlin and Bonn have an airport.

    Contrast this with the Irish proposal of spreading departments the length and breadth of the country, no apparent plans to provide the high quality communications that the German workers were provided with and no cost benefit analysis. This is surly going to be more costly then the e-voting fiasco, not alone in money but in lost working hours also. You got to ask who is gaining, and it only seems to be developers both in Dublin and in the regions, the FF friends again.

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    Default DECENTRALISATION

    What the Minister for Finance did not say when claiming Limerick as a success is that many people in that office are desperate to leave it and have applied for decentralisation......

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    Default DECENTRALISATION

    "What the Minister for Finance did not say when claiming Limerick as a success is that many people in that office are desperate to leave it and have applied for decentralisation..."

    Ditto those in the Statistics office in Cork. Many of them also want out.

    Take comfort in the fact that there is no party more capable of making a volte face, particularly after an election, than Fianna Fail. ;-)

    D.

  10. #10
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    Default DECENTRALISATION

    Take comfort in the fact that there is no party more capable of making a volte face, particularly after an election, than Fianna Fail. ;-)
    They would have to do it not much after the local elections, otherwise it is more likely to become embroiled in the General Election campaign the later it is left. It's hard to see them trying to back out of it to be fair. McCreevy has nailed his colours to the mast and it would be highly damaging to him to back down now. They are fairly locked into it now because the regions would be extremely unhappy to see it reversed while Dublin more than likely wouldn't balance that disquiet out. The 'another broken promise' angle would be quite damaging in a cumulative effect and would draw out the anger of people from the last general election which would not be welcome in fianna fail strategy planning circles.

    I think they will end up decentralising a few thousand, maybe not the full ten though.

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