Dáil Éireann - Volume 347 - 09 February, 1984

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - OPW Rented Office Space.

1. Mr. McEllistrim asked the Minister for Finance the approximate area of unoccupied office space in Dublin rented by the Office of Public Works; the location; and the cost to the State of each office block.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Mr. J. Bermingham): The reply [2282] to the first two parts of the question is in the form of a tabular statement which I propose to have circulated with the Official Report.

In regard to the final part of the question, it is not the practice to disclose the amount of the rents payable in respect of individual premises as the amounts concerned are confidential between the landlord and the tenant and the Deputy will appreciate that it would not be in the public interest to do so.

Following is the statement:

Schedule of office space leased by the Commissioners of Public Works in Dublin which is unoccupied at present.

Premises

Approximate Area unoccupied (in square feet)

85-93 Mount Street

(Blocks 5 and 6)

6,000

Block I,

Harcourt Square,

Harcourt Street

7,900

Block II,

Harcourt Square,

Harcourt Street

41,604

Block IV,

Harcourt Square,

Harcourt Street

8,606

76-78 Harcourt Street

24,540

Exchange House,

18 Upper Exchange Steet

6,095

Westpark Road,

Tallaght, County. Dublin

3,850

Mr. McEllistrim: I accept the second part of the statement but I would like to know from the Minister of State what is the square footage of office space which the Government have unoccupied at the moment?

Mr. J. Bermingham: This will be circulated in the Official Report but I can give the Deputy the figures from the statement. In blocks 5 and 6 of 85-93 Mount Street there is 6,000 square feet. In block 1 of Harcourt Square and Harcourt [2283] Street, there is 7,900 square feet. In block 2 of Harcourt Square and Harcourt Street there is 41,604 square feet. In block 4 of Harcourt Square and Harcourt Street there is 8,606 square feet. In 76-78 Harcourt Street there is 24,540 square feet. At Exchange House, 18 Upper Exchange Street there is 6,095 square feet and at Westpark Road, Tallaght, County Dublin there is 3,850 square feet.

Mr. McEllistrim: What is the total square footage unoccupied? Is it 120,000 square feet?

Mr. J. Bermingham: I have not got the total here.

Mr. McEllistrim: Why are those premises unoccupied and why is there such a delay in putting Departments into them? Some of them have been unoccupied for a long time and it seems rather strange that the Office of Public Works are not filling those office blocks at the moment.

Mr. J. Bermingham: There are several reasons which hold up occupation. I am sure the Deputy realises that when an office block is taken it is an outward shell of a building. The first thing that has to be done when the office space is taken is to get a brief from whatever Department will be using the office accommodation. On certain occasions that takes some time to prepare and we have also known it to be changed. It is usual to get a contractor to do the fitting out job, which is nearly as big a job as the actual provision of the building. Contract documents have to be prepared, as the Deputy will appreciate, under Government contract arrangements. It is a slow process. After all that is done, there is another factor which very often prevents offices from being occupied and over which the Office of Public Works have no control. This is the installation of telephones which takes quite a while in some cases and the offices cannot obviously be occupied without telephones.

Mr. McEllistrim: Can the Minister of [2284] State assure me that in future he will do his utmost to ensure that those office blocks are occupied as quickly as possible?

Mr. J. Bermingham: I assure the Deputy on that. Since I came into the Office of Public Works I have been concerned to ensure that the least possible time is lost in occuping these offices. I have got a report regularly on the office accommodation available and I have sent briefs to all the Departments to urge them to ensure that they have briefs available on accommodation the minute office accommodation becomes available.