The Land Development Agency has announced plans to begin opening offices outside Dublin, starting with Cork and Limerick. 

As well as allowing more flexible working arrangements for staff, the move recognises the role of the LDA as a national agency with a mandate to help boost the scale of cities outside Dublin.

The expansion is also is in line with Project Ireland 2040's ambition for growth outside Dublin.  

When public health restrictions allow, the LDA said it will open offices in Cork and Limerick this year, with more bases outside Dublin planned in the near future. 

The LDA's mandate is to increase the supply of affordable housing through the efficient use of state land, and it already has significant activities in Cork and Limerick cities.

In Cork, the LDA has submitted a planning application to build 260 new homes on the site of St Kevin's Hospital.

It has also formed a partnership with Cork City Council to bring forward plans for the regeneration of a 146-acre site in Cork Docklands.

In Limerick, it is working with the City and County Council on plans for the redevelopment of a 50-hectare site around Colbert Station, to create a new urban quarter with a mix of residential, educational, health, community, and recreational uses.

John Moran, Chair of the LDA, said the agency will be one of the first public sector agencies moving to a distributed working model. 

"Rebalancing the social and economic drivers of Ireland is critical to creating a more liveable and attractive country," John Moran said. 

"Given the re-evaluation of how we can all work more flexibly post COVID, there is no better time for the LDA to support more balanced regional development by opening offices outside of Dublin," he said.

"With our national team operating cohesively in numerous locations we will benefit from better diversity of thought as to how we prioritise and deliver on our mandate," he added.

John Coleman, chief executive of the LDA, said the agency's mandate of improving the supply of affordable housing and making better use of state land is a nationwide project, and so it is appropriate that it expands its office footprint beyond Dublin.