Decentralisation of public offices out of the country’s capital. A controversial attempt in Ireland

imaxen cabeceira The Public Service Decentralisation Programme

The Public Service Decentralisation Programme, announced in December 2003, lasted until November 2011, when it was cancelled by Government. Its purpose was to decentralise the Irish civil service to rural locations.

imaxen decentralisation

In 2003, this policy envisaged the movement of some 10,000 positions over a ten year time period. To date some 30 per cent of the envisaged numbers have moved.

It was cancelled in 2011 by a new government for a mixture of reasons some of which were party political others more practical. It had been partly hijacked by the previous administration as some ministers wanted to bring employment to their own constituencies.

Locally its effects have been highly positive: it has brought young blood in ageing communities, it has stimulated the local housing market besides improving the local economy and bringing many more benefits.

Key questions for debate
  • Decentralizing public offices to less populated areas, may it help to resettle people and contribute to rural revival?
  • How to do it in a coherent and sustainable way? (Promoting resettlement without generating inefficiencies)
  • How to minimize negative side effects such as to significantly increase commuting –bussing time- and working hours wasting?