More jobs for Ballykelly
Thursday, 9 March 2017
AT least 70 posts will be relocated from County Hall in Coleraine to the Department of Agriculture's headquarters in Ballykelly before the end of the year.
That number is set to grow as The Northern Constitution understands another 30 agriculture staff in Crown Buildings have been told their jobs are also being transferred.
The process has already started and should be completed by 2020 at the very earliest, with senior managers among the first to take up residence in Ballykelly.
Coleraine is set to lose almost 160 public sector jobs to Ballykelly, Ballymena and Londonderry as part of a major shake-up of frontline services.
Last June, the Agriculture Minister revealed to the Assembly that most staff at DAERA's offices in Dundonald House are not prepared to relocate to the North West.
Those at the head of DAERA are now being accused of panicking in their desperation to fill empty desks at the multi-million pound building on the Shackleton site.
One County Hall employee has told this newspaper there is no appetite amongst local government workers to shift to Limavady. A show of hands during a recent meeting confirmed that only three people are prepared to work in the plush offices, which are due to open in early 2018 at a cost of roughly £12m.
Speaking on the understanding his identity would not be disclosed, he said: "Staff affected by the move don't have any choice or say - they will have to go or else.
“Morale in our offices is low right now. People are being treated like pawns to make Ministers in Stormont look good for the white elephants they are building."
Staff in administrative and field-based roles are those affected, according to The Northern Constitution's source, who said it was another step towards closing County Hall down.
“It's a big loss for Coleraine and the traders based in it," he added. "The move will affect people who live as far away as Ballymoney and the Glens of Antrim. This will be sold as a jobs boost for Ballykelly but people will see it for what it really is. It's merely a reshuffle of existing staff. The whole thing is an awful mess.
“During that meeting, only three people put up their hand when staff were asked who would be prepared to go. T
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