The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has stated that he is satisfied that his Department has sufficient resources despite what has been labelled as an ‘exodus’ of staff this year.

South Kerry TD Brendan Griffin asked the Minister this week his views on reports of an exodus of as many as 141 Department of Agriculture staff in 2014 and his plans to replace these staff. He also questions whether this loss of staff will cause a reduction in services.

Staff numbers in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine have reduced by over 1,600 between 2004 and the end of December 2013.

The Minister said in the context of the current fiscal position, the necessity to have a civil service that operates efficiently and effectively is more important than ever and his Department has been very focused on reorganising our work practices with the objective of driving efficiencies and realising savings.

He outlined that within the Department, Workforce Planning is used as a tool to forecast current and future staffing needs and to assist in achieving the right balance between labour demand and supply so that the right numbers of employees, with the right skills are available at the right time.

According to the Minister the Department continually reviews staffing levels in all areas of operation in light of operational needs and overall Government policy on staffing levels.

“In the context of effective service delivery, I am satisfied that there are adequate processes in place in my Department to ensure that sufficient resources are available to maintain our high levels of customer service,” he said.