Local representatives raise concerns
Senator Maura Hopkins says she has been informed by Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, that that there are no plans to relocate the General Register Office from Roscommon or to relocate staff.
“I received a statement from the Department on Tuesday (12th of December), which stated: ‘There will be a short business review of GRO Roscommon undertaken in the New Year. This will look at our business practices in GRO Roscommon and will involve meetings with staff at all levels. The Department also has an INTREO office at the same location. The review should be finished by end of January 2018. The review will not result in moving either the GRO or staff from Roscommon – it is simply a business review.’
Senator Hopkins said: “The Department of Employment and Social Protection has given its full commitment to the GRO Head Office in Roscommon. An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD visited the GRO Head Office in Roscommon on January 13th last in his then role as Minister for Social Protection. He took time to meet with staff and to see at first-hand the work of the General Registry Office and he emphasised the importance of the Roscommon location to the work of the Department”.
The Fine Gael Senator accused fellow public representatives of circulating inaccurate information.
“It is important that the public are made aware of the facts” Senator Hopkins said, adding that claims made by an opposition TD and published in the Roscommon Herald had clearly not been verified by the politicians in question.
“Without engaging with the Department, it is unfortunate that other public representatives sought to put inaccurate information into the public domain.
“I have worked closely with An Taoiseach during his time as Minister for Social Protection and now Minister Doherty to ensure that we can further develop the Department’s services in Roscommon”.
Earlier in the week, local politicians had called on the Minister Doherty to clarify whether the future of the GRO Department remained secure.
Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy said: “I have become aware that a review of the service is imminent and I am concerned as to what that review will mean for the future of the service so I am calling on the Minister for Social Protection to clarify the situation”.
Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan also said that he would be raising the issue.
“I was contacted by a member of the public at the weekend regarding these concerns which I am bringing directly to the attention of the Minister”.
Speaking on Wednesday, Cllr. Paschal Fitzmaurice described concerns for the future of the office which opened in 2005 as “very real”.
“There are huge concerns for its future with a review of the services of the GRO in Roscommon taking place in 2018. With one senior staff member retiring in Roscommon without confirmation of replacements, another transferring without replacement, along with the new position of a Principal Office, assistant Principal Office and Higher Executive Officer appointed in Dublin, the concerns for the future of the Roscommon office are very real.
“…The Government need to bring more jobs to rural Ireland which should include civil service jobs rather than packing more people into Dublin and adding to the housing crisis.
“I am calling on Minister Naughten, Senator Hopkins and Senator Feighan to give the people of Roscommon a guarantee the GRO office in its current format will not change in Roscommon Town”.