Key Rural Affairs staff are staying put in Dublin, says Ring
Rural affairs minister accuses Ó Cúiv of 'playing politics' on relocation demand
Minister Michael Ring has ruled out moving key staff in his Department of Rural and Community Affairs from Dublin to his native Mayo.
Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív claimed the establishment of the new department provided an ideal opportunity for its relocation out of the capital and he suggested a site owned by the Office of Public Works in Charlestown, Co Mayo.
But Minister Ring angrily accused Mr Ó Cuív of "playing politics" and insisted that he had "no intention" of moving his senior officials out of Dublin.
"I saw it in my brief as minister of sport and tourism with the department based in Killarney, if you wanted a file you had to have it couriered up and couriered down. If you wanted an official you bring them up and bring them down," Mr Ring explained.
He pointed out that the Department of Rural and Community Affairs already had 52 staff mainly based in Ballina, but he said its headquarters would remain in Dublin.
"The secretary of the Department, or an assistant secretary or two, have to be here in Dublin. You have to have that to formulate government policy," the minister maintained.
"I will be doing my work mostly from here [in Dublin]. I can't be in Ballina," he added.
However, Mr Ó Cuív said relocating the Department to Charlestown provided an opportunity for the government and Minister Ring to "put down a marker" and show a genuine commitment to rural development.