TEAGASC has reported significant progress in putting in place the first phase of a change plan which includes the closure of 40 of its 91 offices countrywide.
The plan covers the research, advisory and education functions carried out by Teagasc, whose budget has been cut over recent years by 14 million.
It includes reducing the number of offices nationally, a reduction in the area of land used for research and a reorganisation of the education service.
Teagasc’s management structure has been rationalised with agriculture and food research combined into a single directorate.
Advisory and education directorates have also been combined into a single business unit and the administration and management services directorates have been combined into one as well. This has reduced the number of senior managers from six to three.
A research programme at a farm in Kilmaley, Co Clare, has been completed and the land subsequently sold. Fourteen offices have been closed with staff relocated to other offices.
Farmers in West Cork will be serviced from advisory offices in Clonakilty, Skibbereen and Macroom. The offices in Dunmanway and Bantry closed earlier this summer, with Bandon due to close later in the year.
The plan is to have four offices to service East Cork, located in Midleton, Moorepark, Mallow and one in the Duhallow region.
The offices in Cork city and Millsteet have closed, with staff relocated, while there will be rationalisation in the Newmarket/Kanturk region down to one office.
As part of the second phase of the change plan, the centre in Kinsealy in Dublin is due to close with staff relocating to the Ashtown centre in Dublin.
The number of people working in Teagasc is reducing due to the ban on recruiting new staff and the ban on renewing contracts for people employed on contract.
Teagasc says this has reduced the number of people working in the organisation by 240 in 2009, with further cuts anticipated due to ongoing retirements. It is actively trying to manage this staffing issue to maintain services to clients.
*Conditions favouring the spread of potato blight are likely to return over the weekend, especially to the north-west of the country. There will be opportunities for spraying during Friday.
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