Dáil Éireann - Volume 393 - 21 November, 1989
Written Answers. - Cherry Orchard (Dublin) Community Centre.
Mr. J. Mitchell Mr. J. Mitchell
 129. Mr. J. Mitchell asked the Minister for the Environment if, in view of the dangerous condition of the unfinished community centre at Cherry Orchard, Dublin 10, he will give the following information: (a) the original estimate of the total cost for the construction and completion of the building, (b) the amount and date of the original grant approval, (c) the date of payment of grants and (d) the latest estimate of further expenditure submitted to his Department for the completion of the building; if, in view of the dangerous state of the building, he will make an urgent decision as to whether further funds will be provided to complete it, or alternatively, to order its demolition on safety grounds; if, in view of the fact that because funds were cut off in mid-stream from the project that the alternatives facing it are either demolition or enormous additional public expenditure, he will refer the matter to the Comptroller and Auditor General and/or the local government auditor for investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for the Environment (Mr. Flynn) Minister for the Environment (Mr. Flynn)
Minister for the Environment (Mr. Flynn): This project was put forward by Dublin Corporation for an amenity grant in November 1985. The cost of constructing the community centre was then estimated by the corporation at £100,000, subsequently increased to £150,000. I understand that this was calculated on the basis of provision of the basic facility, involving partial fitting out, only. The construction work was to be undertaken through the services of FÁS and the intention of the corporation was that completion of the building should be undertaken at a later stage when money became available through local fund raising. The following amenity grants were paid to Dublin Corporation in respect of the community centre: 1986 scheme, £5,000; 1987 scheme, £75,000; 1988 scheme, £40,000.
Following strong representations from  the corporation, I notified them on 6 October 1989 that I was prepared to allocate a further £25,000 towards the completion of the project from savings under the amenity grants scheme. This allocation was made on condition that (i) completion of the community centre would be achieved by the corporation for a total expenditure of £50,000, the sum which the corporation had indicated to my Department as the amount required for the purpose, and (ii) that the corporation would meet the balance of £25,000 from their own resources.
The corporation notified my Department on 10 November 1989 that, because of vandalism problems, they consider that the building must now be fully completed and brought into use without further delay and that the remaining work should be put out to contract. They have sought a further grant under the amenity grants scheme to cover the additional costs, including fitting out, which they now estimate at £160,000.
I should point out that there was no cut-off of funds in this case by my Department and that the amenity grants scheme has always operated on a devolved basis, with supervision of projects delegated fully to the local authorities. Nevertheless, I am extremely concerned in this case at the apparent losses through vandalism, the delay in completing the centre and the escalation in the costings put forward by the corporation. My Department are taking up these matters with the corporation.
Dáil Éireann 393 Written Answers. Cherry Orchard (Dublin) Community Centre.