The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is set to see 91 staff leave this year, according to figures from the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

Responding to a parliamentary question in recent days the Minister outlined that the number of staff who retired, left or otherwise departed from their employment between January 1, 2014 and August 31, 2014 was 72, with a expected annual saving of €3,856,257. The number of staff expected to retire between September 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 will be 19 with an expected annual saving of €1,262,108.

He said while a saving is attributable to each year’s retirements, some, if not all these vacancies, will need to be filled.

Earlier this year the Minister said that staffing levels in the Department of Agriculture has fallen by more than 1,600 since 2005, a reduction of one third over nine years and the cost of running the department has fallen by €88m since 2008.

According to the Minister at the time: “The department continues to reduce the administrative cost of funding its programmes for famers and the agri-food sector.” It estimates the cost of running the department will fall two per cent in 2014 to €216m. Within this the department hopes to make significant savings in salaries and wages, which make up the majority of its expense on administration. It estimates this element of the budget will fall four per cent in 2014 to €167m.

Minister Coveney also outlined that In 2015, 46 members of staff will retire due to age regulations, and in 2016, 58 members of staff will retire due to age regulations.