Haughey impatient for College of Science as taoiseach's offices

 

TAOISEACH'S ACCOMMODATION:THE LATE Charles J Haughey left senior officials in no doubt as to his wishes on accommodation arrangements at a meeting held shortly after his election as taoiseach in December 1979.

He summarily dismissed a £4 million plan to build a Taoiseach’s official residence and State guest house on the site of the former Apostolic nunciature in Phoenix Park. This had been the subject of an architectural design competition and a winning English design had been selected.

Haughey also decided that the Office of Public Works should seek to acquire the College of Art premises adjacent to the Dáil because of his belief, supported by an OPW report, that this was the only way to meet the accommodation requirements of the Oireachtas.

He appears to have been impatient with suggestions that there was “no possibility” of immediately moving the UCD agricultural/ engineering faculty out of the College of Science to new premises at Belfield.

“The Taoiseach indicated that a long timescale was unacceptable and that priority should be given to the moving of the agricultural/ engineering faculty from the College of Science within a period of three months. The OPW would conduct an immediate examination.”

The meeting took place on December 28th, 1979, less than three weeks after Haughey became taoiseach. A note of the occasion records that, in relation to his own accommodations, “the need for adequate heating in certain rooms was also mentioned”.

It is understood that Mr Haughey was referring to the temperature in his office toilet.

The note concludes: “The Taoiseach stressed that he needed a report on all these matters from the OPW within a week.”

However it would take until January 1991 before Mr Haughey finally moved into new offices in the former College of Science building on Merrion Street.