Decentralising DARD

A look at the progress of the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s decentralisation process announced in 2011.


A planning decision is expected very soon on new departmental headquarters at Ballykelly. The move from Dundonald House in east Belfast to a new state of the art building on the 8.7 acre site in the north west is due to begin in 2017 when the first phase of the new building is completed.  

“Today is a key milestone in realising the £20 million vision we see for DARD and the potential positive impact this move will have for the north west,” said Minister O’Neill.

“I am sure the 21st century design will mean it integrates well with the landscape and has a positive impact on those living and working there. We have continued to discuss our plans with members of the local community group and they are keen for work to begin and jobs to move to the area.”


Rivers Agency

Work is now underway to construct a new headquarters for the Rivers Agency. The new modern two-storey building in Cookstown will provide a spacious and attractive work environment with 85 workstations.

Speaking about this progress Minister O’Neill said: “This is another key step in our relocation programme and will position the Rivers Agency at the centre of the north, ensuring it has strong links with the rural community and offering well paid local civil service jobs for people in the wider Cookstown area.”

“Significantly, it means our fisheries team is closer to the industry and our key fishing ports in Ardglass, Kilkeel and Portavogie. I am certain it will also bring social and economic benefits and encourage other public sector jobs to the town.”


In June 2015, fisheries moved into its headquarters in Downpatrick which saw the relocation of 50 posts from the Stormont Estate in Belfast to new modern offices at the Downshire Civic Centre. Speaking about the move, DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Downpatrick is an ideal location and clearly demonstrates DARD at the forefront in delivering on the Executive’s commitment to decentralise civil service posts”.


Forest Service

Previously based in Belfast, Forest Service moved its headquarters from Dundonald House to Enniskillen in September 2015. Some 60 Forest Service posts are now located in Inishkeen House, Enniskillen.

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