OPW spends hundreds of thousands a year on security for unused buildings

Cost of providing security at such sites and buildings amounted to €339,345 last year

In response to a parliamentary question last year, Minster of State for the OPW Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran listed vacant properties and unused land under the control of his office. Photograph: Dave Meehan

In response to a parliamentary question last year, Minster of State for the OPW Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran listed vacant properties and unused land under the control of his office. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

The Office of Public Works (OPW) spends almost €1,000 every day on security for State-owned buildings lying empty around the country, newly released figures reveal.

Last year, the total cost of providing security at unused and vacant OPW sites and buildings was €339,345, it revealed in response to a freedom of information request.

The OPW refused to identify the buildings and sites under the request, citing security concerns and commercial sensitivities.

A spokeswoman said “for health and safety and asset protection reasons, security is provided for in certain vacant buildings which are considered to be particularly vulnerable to trespass or vandalism”.

In response to a parliamentary question last year, Minster of State for the OPW Kevin “Boxer” Moran listed vacant properties and unused land under the control of his office.

They included buildings in Dublin’s Castle Street, Halston Street and in Dún Laoghaire as well as sites in the capital at Hammond Lane, Kill of the Grange, Heuston Gate, Leeson Lane and a former school at Church Avenue in Glasnevin. There were also buildings in Limerick, Dundalk and Drogheda.

Decentralisation

The majority of empty OPW buildings are Garda stations closed in recent years.

There were also eight Garda residences in counties Cork, Roscommon and Tipperary, seven former customs posts along the Border and eight former coastguard cottages in Co Cork.

Among other empty properties were a “residence” in Castlefin in Co Donegal and Dromard House in Tipperary.

Eight sites earmarked for the decentralisation of Government departments – in Kilkenny, Laois, Mayo, Offaly, Tipperary and Waterford – were listed as vacant, as were four former Met Éireann weather stations.

A former ESB building in Enfield, Co Meath, and an agricultural college in Clonakilty, Co Cork were also among empty OPW-owned buildings.

“There are a limited number of sundry dwellings that are intrinsic to the estates of national parks and gardens managed by the OPW,” said Mr Moran at the time.

“In general, these are allocated to staff where there is a requirement for officials to be present on the ground.

“There are a number of these currently vacant due to the poor condition of the properties, though these would not be categorised in the same way as non-operational vacant properties that may be considered for other State use or for disposal.”