Splitting up Defence dept was insane, says Shatter
Published 04/07/2011 | 05:00
DEFENCE Minister Alan Shatter has ridiculed the decision to decentralise and divide his department from the military as "completely insane".
Three out of four staff have left the Department Defence because they did not want to transfer out of Dublin and have been replaced with civil servants from other government departments.
The move has also split up the military attached to key sections of the Defence Forces into six separate locations.
Mr Shatter said last night he and his senior officials were actively pursuing options to eliminate some of the difficulties that have arisen since the headquarters of the civil and military staff was shifted to Newbridge, Co Kildare.
Defence is the only government department to have been moved entirely out of Dublin since the decentralisation programme began.
Mr Shatter described the move as "absolutely bizarre" and "catastrophic", while separating the department from major components of the military headquarters was "completely insane".
He added: "The core of our defence infrastructure should be located together, not spread out across five to six locations, as it currently stands.
"This decision, made by the previous government, is an archaic concept that was tested by the Roman empire and proved to be one of the factors, resulting in its fall," he added.
"The decisions made by the previous government were, frankly, bizarre," he said.
"It is clear that decentralisation is a failed political stunt, which has not worked, and is also deeply impractical.
"We have staff here who spend an inordinate amount of time (travelling) between Newbridge and Dublin for meetings," he said.
Mr Shatter also pointed out that the process had resulted in a massive loss of corporate memory in his department, with 75pc of the staff who had worked with Defence in Dublin not wishing to relocate to Newbridge with others being reassigned in their place.