Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (174)

Michael Healy-Rae


174. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will address a matter regarding a former Garda station (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34775/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The OPW actively manages a portfolio of some 2,500 properties throughout the country, that ranges from office accommodation to heritage properties, visitors centres, Garda stations, among others.  At any given time it is normal that a number of properties are vacant.  In the case of the OPW portfolio, there are 98 properties currently vacant, reduced from over 200 that were vacant in 2014. 

The majority of these are former Garda stations closed under the 2012/13 closure programme.  As these stations were subject to examination under the recent policing review, the OPW was specifically requested not to dispose of them.  Now that this review is completed, the future of the remaining stations will be determined.  

When a property is deemed suitable for disposal, the OPW will, in the first instance, offer it for use to other public bodies (e.g. local authorities, LDA, HSE etc.) prior to it being placed on the open market. 

The OPW policy with regard to non-operational (vacant) State property, including the former Garda station at Moyvane is to:

1. Identify if the property is required/suitable for alternative State use by either Government Departments or the wider public sector.

2. If there is no other State use identified for a property, the OPW will then consider disposing of the property on the open market if and when conditions prevail, in order to generate revenue for the Exchequer.

3. If no State requirement is identified or if a decision is taken not to dispose of a particular property, the OPW may consider community involvement (subject to a detailed written submission, which would indicate that the community/voluntary group has the means to insure, maintain and manage the property and that there are no ongoing costs for the Exchequer).

The OPW is in discussion with Kerry County Council who have expressed an interest in the property.

If Kerry County Council decide not to proceed with the acquisition of the property and there is no other State requirement for the property, the Commissioners of Public Works will consider the business plan submitted by the Community Group.