Government offices officially opened

Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan was in Roscommon on Monday morning last to perform the official opening of the government offices in the town at Convent Road, Roscommon.             200 staff are now employed in the various offices, including the Department of Agriculture and Food, General Register Office of the Department of Health and Children, Land Registry, Revenue Commissioners and the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS).             Speaking at the launch, the Minister said, ‘The variety of work undertaken here, no doubt, gives a great vibrancy to the complex and provides a good working atmosphere. All involved are providing essential services and knowledge to the rural economy. She added that in addition to the new building, the Office of Public Works has also arranged for its future management by engaging the services of Hochtief Facilities Management to look after the maintenance of the building.             Speaking of the Department of Agriculture staff in the building, she said that an increased emphasis on information technology and the introduction of the single payment and consequent termination of livestock schemes had greatly changed the work there. A welcome decline in disease levels, particularly in relation to TB and brucellosis, has resulted in a reduction in the number of staff working in the office. However, the Government’s decision to decentralise the Land Registry to Roscommon means that staff wishing to remain working in the town can be accommodated.             ‘My department’s local offices are, for many farmers, is their first and principal point of contact with the Department and this building, which opened its doors in May 2005, reflects the conditions which members of the public dealing with a Department of State would expect to encounter, with the most up-to-date facilities and appropriate working environment. The value of the Department’s local offices as a point of contact for farmers can never be underestimated,’ concluded the Minister.             While performing the official opening, Minister Coughlan was presented with a Parker pen by Cllr. Luke Ming Flanagan, who told her that with the stroke of a pen she could get rid of Castlerea Town Trust.             ‘I always thought politicians were addicted to votes in the same way as an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol,’ said Cllr. Flanagan. ‘I thought if there were votes in it, the politicians would go for it. Over 1,400 people wrote to the Minister one and a half years ago. She can, with the stroke of a pen, get rid of Castlerea Town Trust. I said in my election manifesto that I would do everything in my power to get rid of Castlerea Town Trust.             ‘In a town like Castlerea, 1,400 people willing to sign a petition means it’s a real live issue in the town