Potential delay to new long-term Garda control centre

OPW in Harcourt Square dispute as planning permission not yet lodged for new site

 Garda headquarters at Harcourt Square which was sold by Nama in 2013.  The OPW lease for the building expires this year. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Garda headquarters at Harcourt Square which was sold by Nama in 2013. The OPW lease for the building expires this year. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

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The Office of Public Works (OPW) and An Garda Síochána have identified a long-term replacement for the force’s Dublin command and control building but are still facing a short-term accommodation shortage for those stationed in Harcourt Square.

It is understood a permanent replacement for the Harcourt Square building – sold by Nama in 2013 – is still years away, and planning permission has yet to be lodged for a new site in Kilmainham.

The OPW is involved in a legal dispute over the Harcourt Square premises and sources have confirmed it is locked into an upwards-only rent arrangement. Hibernia Reit owns the building and wants to redevelop it but the OPW wants an extension on the lease, due to expire this year, for the Garda.

A legal dispute has broken out between the OPW and Hibernia Reit but OPW sources say the State is facing a significant financial penalty even if it wins the case because it is likely to be hit with rent increases.

Senior gardaí in the command and control centre in Dublin city centre could be left with nowhere to work because of the legal dispute.

Sources within the OPW said the situation had arisen because of bad planning on the OPW’s behalf, and said no alternative accommodation has been lined up for those working in Harcourt Square.

Sinn Féin has previously raised questions on it in the Dáil, with Meath TD Peadar Tóibín pressing former minister and Fine Gael TD Brian Hayes on the issue in 2013.

Problematic

Temporary premises are being examined at East Point, near the Dublin port tunnel, but it is understood this would only house up to half of the 500 people from Harcourt Square. Moving the command and control centre is also seen as hugely problematic.

Hibernia Reit acquired the Dublin 2 building for € 70 million in an off-market transaction last year from Gangkhar, an entity understood to be controlled by Starwood Capital.

The OPW said it is working on a new facility at Military Road in Kilmainham as a permanent replacement. However, planning permission has not yet been lodged, raising the prospect of the development being some years away.

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