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Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Civil Service Premises.

Wednesday, 5 October 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 No. 5

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6.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange asked the Minister for Finance if any of the premises vacated by civil servants now accommodated in O'Connell Bridge House, Hawkins House, Stephen's Green House, Ansley House and Liberty Hall are at present unoccupied; if so, what is the cost of upkeep of these unoccupied premises; and what proposals he has for their use in the future.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons The most of the accommodation which was vacated consequent on the occupation of the premises referred to has been fully re-occupied by other staffs or surrendered to the owners.

The position in regard to the remaining premises is as follows:—

No. 21 Fitzwilliam Square: These premises will be fully occupied within the next week by staff of An Foras Tionscal, who have to be moved from [614] No. 1 Mount Street Crescent in order to provide additional space for the Industrial Development Authority.

Ship Street Barracks: Part of the accommodation has been re-occupied by staff of the Revenue Commissioners. It is intended to use the balance to re-house Garda personnel whose present premises in the Lower Yard of Dublin Castle will have to be vacated in connection with the proposed new Stamping Branch building for the Revenue Commissioners.

No.3 Lower Ormond Quay: The accommodation in this building is of a very low standard. The most suitable rooms are being temporarily occupied by the Agricultural Wages Board and Probation Officers attached to the Department of Justice. As soon as alternative accommodation can be provided for these, the premises will be sold.

Numbers 1 Hume Street and 46 St. Stephen's Green: These premises have been temporarily re-occupied in part by staff of the Land Commission and the Office of Public Works. The structural condition and lay-out of the premises are such that nothing short of complete reconstruction would render them suitable for permanent re-occupation. In the circumstances, it is proposed to dispose of the State's interest in the premises as soon as alternative accommodation is provided for the present occupants.

No. 10 Parnell Square: A few rooms in this building which were vacated by the staff of the Revenue Commissioners' Office have not yet been re-occupied. It is expected that the balance of the building will be vacated by the Department of Posts and Telegraphs early in the New Year, and it is considered that it would be better to wait until then so that the re-allocation of the entire building can be most effectively considered.

No. 1 Beresford Place: Four rooms in this building are vacant at present. The accommodation in them is substandard, but the possibility of finding some use for them is being explored.

Kildare Street and Marlborough Street: A few isolated rooms in the headquarters buildings of the Departments [615] of Industry and Commerce in Kildare Street, and Education in Marlborough Street are at present unoccupied. Arrangements for their re-allocation are in train.

It would not be possible without the expenditure of an inordinate amount of time to ascertain how much has been spent on the maintenance of the unoccupied parts of the premises in question. It can be taken that the cost has been negligible.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange If the Government needed all this accommodation, why did they not build their own offices instead of paying exorbitant rents to somebody else, as they have paid for O'Connell Bridge House?

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan More civil servants.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon I want to ask a supplementary question. Does the Parliamentary Secretary intend to reply to Deputy L'Estrange?

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons I doubt very much if it is a type of supplementary question to which one could give a quick supplementary answer. This whole general question of accommodation in the Civil Service, as any sensible person would have deduced from the reply I gave, is the one of extreme complexity. To deal with the whole general question of the housing of the Civil Service by way of reply to a supplementary question is, I think, beyond reasonable bounds.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon If, when the Parliamentary Secretary is disposing of Government property which has architectural value from the point of view of the city, such as the house at St. Stephen's Green or the house in Parnell Square, may I take it that he will take such measures as may be available to him to prevent the destruction of these buildings and the substitution of hideous glass pillboxes in their place?

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons I am quite sure that the Office of Public Works are conscious of the other general question, and a very large general question, [616] raised by Deputy Dillon. In the matter of the preservation of the architectural integrity of places like the houses in St. Stephen's Green, surely it must be obvious to Deputy Dillon and other Deputies that this responsibility extends itself over all the property-owners in St. Stephen's Green and not merely the Office of Public Works alone?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Rumours are now in circulation in the city that the Department of Finance has in contemplation the sale not only of the house referred to at the corner of Hume Street but even the premises of the Office of Public Works itself, which is one of the most precious Georgian houses we have, for the purpose of development by a property company.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons I do not feel accountable for the rumours in circulation.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Can the Parliamentary Secretary reassure me that the rumours are not true?

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons I can reassure the Deputy of my surprise that a Deputy of Deputy Dillon's experience would act as an accumulator and gatherer of rumours.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon I provide the Parliamentary Secretary with the opportunity of correcting rumours which could be injurious and which I respectfully submit are appropriate to be dealt with in public in this House and not, for example, at a bull ring attended by the Parliamentary Secretary.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons Zoom on James M. Gibbons The Office of Public Works is quite conscious of the architectural problem as it relates to the city of Dublin. We shall not be found wanting in the obligation to the community as a whole.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Electricity Supply Board set a bad example.


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