Irish News

Saturday 12 July 2014

RPA still has 180 staff despite slashed workload

Published 08/12/2013|00:30

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IT is the railway quango which is only developing one Luas line – but has 180 staff on its payroll.

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The Railway Procurement Agency's (RPA) workload has dropped significantly due to the shortage of State funding for railway projects, with Metro North and Luas line extensions being put on ice. It currently has 180 staff but only has the Luas Cross City line to develop.

Its staff numbers are far higher than the National Roads Authority (NRA), which has 105 employees.

The RPA was due to be merged with the NRA by the end of last year, but the necessary legislation still has not been published.

The RPA is insisting that all of its staff are fully occupied. Around 25 people had been sent to work for other agencies such as the National Treasury Management Agency. The remaining staff are working on developing the new Luas line, as well as the Bus Rapid Transit project in Dublin.

It is also responsible for supervising the company operating the Luas services on the existing Red and Green lines and putting the contract out to tender again next year.

RPA spokesman Tom Manning said it had managed to win consultancy work on railway projects abroad worth over €1m. "I would say that everyone is pretty occupied. We're pretty inventive in terms of coming up with stuff," he told the Sunday Independent.

A working group has been set up to plan the merger of the RPA, which is based in Parkgate Street in Dublin, and the NRA, which is based in Waterloo Road in Dublin. The only change that has happened so far is that they have merged their boards with NRA chief executive Fred Barry taking charge of both organisations.

Neither has enough office space to accommodate the other's staff, so they are likely to stay in separate locations.

"There are no real savings in this. That's why it's been two years in the making," said a source familiar with the merger negotiations.

Michael Brennan

Sunday Independent

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