The Minister for Social Welfare Seamus Brennan TD accompanied by Junior Minister Tom Parlon TD visited the new state-of-the-art Social Welfare Offices in Carrick-on-Shannon last Thursday. The Ministerial party was accompanied by local county councillors from Leitrim and Roscommon and Leitrim County Council officials. The offices are part of the Governments decentralisation programme and 130 workers will start work in the building on April 9th with 75 more workers arriving before the end of 2007. The 40,000 square foot building is located on the banks of the Shannon close to the Landmark Hotel. Minister Tom Parlon, who is the minister responsible for the implementation of the Government decentralisation programme, said that the Carrick-on-Shannon experience gives lie to the perception that the decentralisation programme is not working. ‘After Easter 126 people will be coming into this magnificent building to work on a voluntary basis and the cost of this fantastic accommodation is less than half the cost of similar accommodation in Dublin so the taxpayers is getting a good deal too. The workers will have a far better standard of living here too which is great’ said Minister Parlon. Minister Seamus Brennan said he was very proud to see the standard of the building. ‘This is how decentralisation should work. 130 staff (will arrive) in two weeks time and I am committing today to 75 more people coming here before the end of the year in Phase 2. ‘Minister Tom Parlon and the Office of Public Works have done a brilliant job and anyone would be proud to work here in Carrick-on-Shannon and I am looking forward to being back here when this building is fully operational’ he said. Local Fianna Fail Deputy John Ellis said that it was a great day for Carrick-on-Shannon. ‘Despite all the merchants of doom that forecast that this decentralisation would never happen — here we are today and we will be looking forward to the 210 people coming to work in Carrick. It will be a huge boost to the local economy’ he told me. ‘Remember that the Inland Waterways building is under coinstruction and that will be another significant decentralisation to Carrick-on-Shannon. This government has delivered for Carrick-on-Shannon and I will be hoping to carry on that work over the next five years here in Leitrim and Roscommon’ Deputy Ellis concluded.