AT ISME we have spotted a shocking story of potential State waste in this morning’s @IrishTimes written by commercial property editor, Jack Fagan. He writes that the OPW, on behalf of the Dept. of Health, is looking to lease most of the old Bank of Ireland HQ on Baggot St. This would move the Department from its current run down abode in Hawkins House in a less than salubrious centre city location to a prime, prime, prime location on Dublin’s South side.
Bringing it all back home
The real shocker though is that the State is planning on spending €60 per square foot on these offices according to the generally very well informed Jack. Meanwhile the private sector, says the same newspaper, is able to secure brand new refurbished offices at €21 per square foot – however not on leafy Baggot St., close to the homes of senior civil servants.
Location, location, location
We’re forever told that the head honchos in charge of government departments are seriously clever people, hired for their smarts. How is it then they are willing to indulge themselves, at the cost to the State otherwise known as the taxpayer, to pay three times what others are paying? The @IrishTimes says that Frascati House in Blackrock, Dublin, on the DART line, is available for €25 per sq. ft. Another story says that Infosys, an Indian multinational information technology giant, is relocating its 250 Irish-based staff from Booterstown in south Dublin to Citywest Business Campus in west Dublin at €21 per sq. ft.
€150,000,000 more of State waste
The Dept. is looking for 150,000 sq. ft. of space and our calculator tells us that’s worth €9m a year in rent to the building’s owner, Larry Goodman, who brought the State the Beef Tribunal. The terms of these leases are normally for 25 years so that’s worth at least €225m over the lifetime of the lease. However by choosing to move to somewhere equally modern and fit for business, but not in what is an unnecessary prime central city location, the cost could be cut by two thirds, a massive saving of nearly €150m.
Just another State outrage
The timing of this story makes us doubly concerned. We effectively have no government, a situation that could continue for months on end. Even though Ministers retain their office during this interregnum there is no doubt that the Ministers’ eyes are off the ball and strictly fixed on how best they can secure another term in a Mercedes. The Civil Service, the de facto unelected government, understands timing better than any Fine Gael party strategist. What a time to leak that they’d like us to pay for offices closer to their homes?
If Health Minister Varadkar wants to show he is a worthy replacement for Enda Kenny and fit for running the country, now is the time for @campaignforleo to shout stop, stop, stop.