Local Minister of State, Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, has welcomed a review of civil servants working locations as part of Budget 2020.
The programme could see civil servants from a range of departments base themselves in offices located in designated regional growth towns, of which Athlone is one.
Minister Moran confirmed to the Athlone Advertiser that, together with his fellow Independent Alliance colleagues, he had broached the issue with the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, prior to the Budget’s formal announcement on Tuesday.
“With Athlone being a designated growth town under the Government’s ‘Ireland 2040’ plan, it would be an ideal civil service hub location. It is most definitely an issue which needs to be addressed.
A decentralisation programme which was established fifteen years ago did not materialise, but Minister Moran noted that any progress in this regard would necessitate a more focused approach.
“I regularly meet with workers who spend endless hours commuting to Dublin or are currently paying an inordinate amount in rent to live in the city.
“We should identify sites and allow wings from the various departments build up. It works very well in my own department (OPW ), travelling up and down to Trim while we also have an office in Claremorris too.
“We are talking about a housing crisis. Many young civil servants are renting in Dublin when they would rather be living in the country,” Minister Moran emphasised.