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Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

Wednesday, 28 February 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 462 No. 3

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 109. Mrs. O'Rourke Information on Mary O'Rourke Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton  the officials, if any, from a State agency that have been or will be transferred or seconded to his Department; the work they are or will be performing; the consultations, if any, that have taken place with the staff unions in his Department in relation to the transfers; and if this will alleviate the situation in his Department in view of the embargo. [4641/96]

Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Fianna Fáil and Labour Programme for Partnership Government 1993-97 provided for the establishment of an Employment Protection Unit to protect existing jobs by providing advisory services to firms experiencing difficulties and to those trading well and eager to grow. This unit was established within my Department in August 1993. It was decided in the initial phase of establishing the unit and getting it operational, to use the services of agency specialists to assist in dealing with the technological, financial, business and personnel/training issues for firms. Two officials from Forbairt were seconded to the unit in this regard. In August 1995, one of these specialists returned to Forbairt. The work of the unit is now largely the responsibility of [807] the sectoral unit of my Department. Specialist advice is provided by the official who has remained on secondment from Forbairt.

The decision to put in place a local employment service to meet the needs of the long-term unemployed was taken by the present Government in February 1995. Overall responsibility for the delivery of the service was assigned to me and a special policy unit to oversee the delivery has been established within my Department. In order to ensure that the most coherent and co-ordinated service is provided and, given the central role which FÁS, the training and employment authority, will play in its delivery, one official from that organisation has been seconded to assist in the work of the policy unit. In this regard, the decision to second the official was not influenced by the embargo on staffing numbers.

Given the nature of the use of agency personnel outlined above, formal consultations were not held with the staff unions in my Department; they were however informed of these developments. Meetings with staff unions are undertaken on a regular basis to discuss relevant issues in my Department.

In line with Government policy on public expenditure, the question of reallocating existing resources available to me to meet priority needs is kept constantly under review.

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