Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Questions (51)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

51. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the implications that the closure of Garda stations will have upon the ownership and operation of any telecommunications masts which are being used by public and or private telecommunications companies at present, specifically with reference to the arrangements envisaged upon the sale of former Garda stations; the income the State currently receives from telecommunications companies in respect of same; the projected loss to the State from this income; if consideration has been given to whether such masts will now require planning permission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10309/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Commissioners of Public Works are currently addressing the property management implications arising from the Garda Station rationalisation programme. The Office Of Public Works is currently examining each property to identify, in the first instance, if there is any State requirement for the properties, their potential for disposal and/or the utilisation of the properties by community groups.

The Commissioners of Public Works have granted licences to third parties in respect of masts at 11 of the Garda Stations included in the recent closure of 100 stations. The ownership of these masts remains unchanged and the only immediate impact on the operation of the mast is that alternative access arrangements may need to be put in place. The existing revenue stream from the mast infrastructure will be taken into account by the Commissioners as part of the decision making process for the future use of the properties.

The current net annual income to the State from these licences is approximately €109,400 and there is no projected loss to the State at this time. The Commissioners are currently examining if there are any planning issues associated with the use of these properties.