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Civil servants in Donegal want to benefit from planned working hub in Derry

Proposal is part of major rethinking on how the northern civil service operates

Covid-19 Covid-19 Covid-19

The new civil service offices in Ballykelly.

Donegal civil servants are hoping to benefit from a new planned working hub for northern civil servants in Derry.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy yesterday announced plans for a number of new civil service regional hubs.

The first Connect2 hubs are expected to open in Ballykelly and Downpatrick in the spring.

They will only become operational when appropriate in line with Health advice and Health Protection Regulations.  

There are plans for additional hubs in Ballymena, Craigavon, Omagh, and the Antrim/Newtownabbey area next year.

Projects in Derry, Enniskillen, Newry and the Bangor/Newtownards area are planned for 2023.

The hubs will provide flexible working opportunities for civil servants on the northern side of the border.

Conor Dowds, Co-Chair of the Cross-Border Workers Coalition (CBWC), said they welcomed the ‘Connect2’ project.

"The creation of these regional hubs will give civil service staff more flexible working arrangements and illustrates a growing trend towards remote work accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"For those living outside Belfast, the opportunity of ‘blended’ working arrangements, where you can work from home one day and go to a co-working space on another, will be very attractive.

“However, due to restrictive personal tax liability rules in the Republic of Ireland, cross-border workers who live in the Republic and work in NI will be left behind and unable to gain the significant benefits of ‘blended’ working arrangements.

"If a Donegal-based civil servant, for example, attends a regional hub in Derry four days a week, but works from home on a Friday, under current RoI legislation he/she could be taxed twice on their income.”

Mr Dowds said for these regional hubs to fully accommodate the ‘new normal’ of post-pandemic working practices, the 'restrictive personal tax laws' in the Republic must change.

"On Wednesday 16 February we sent a letter requesting to meet with Irish Finance Minister Donohoe to examine current remote working tax legislation in the Republic.

"We now ask Finance Minister Murphy to work with his southern counterpart to ensure that cross-border workers are not left behind in this welcome project.”

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