What does decentralisation mean for civil servants and the regions?

The first phase of the government's decentralisation programme began ten years ago, when Civil Service departments began to move from Dublin to the regions.  

Kevin O’Connell from Cabra who was working in the Department of Defence at that time swapped city life for the Connemara countryside. Now with two children, he does not regret the move for a minute, 

It’s a fabulous area...the pace of life is a little bit more comfortable than it would be in a large built-up area.

Kevin O'Connell's wife Peggy who is from Connemara is raising their children through Irish, and feels very lucky to have had the chance to move back, 

If it wasn’t for decentralisation...I probably would have had to go to Dublin.

The arrival of the Department of Social and Family Affairs to Letterkenny in 1990 impacted it in a major way, says Dessie Larkin from Letterkenny Urban District Council. There has been a boost to the the town’s economy. New houses were built, restaurants opened and associated industries flourished, all because of 

Stable government jobs.

Carlow, Kildare, Leitrim, Meath, Monaghan and Wicklow are the only counties which have not had a share in the decentralisation success so far, and will most likely put in a pitch for the next round. 

Despite the benefits to small towns outside Dublin, Tom Gerrity from the Public Service Executive Union says that the people most affected by such a big decision are often not consulted, as

Those decisions will be made based on constituency needs.

For some civil servants who did make the move such as Brian Hickey, returning to Dublin was necessary to get a promotion,

There were very few, if any, opportunities in Galway at the time, so that’s why I decided to come back.

 An RTÉ News report broadcast on 17 May 2000. The reporter is Anne Marie Smyth.