The Commissioners of Public Works have advised me that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has not been liable for any levies since the introduction of the vacant site levy system a number of years ago. Most recently, Kilkenny County Council has placed the former Garda station at Barrack Street, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny on their vacant sites register. A levy of €4,500 will be payable in 2019 on this property. This property however is currently in the process of being transferred to Kilkenny County Council for its own use under the agreed protocols for transfer of State property. This is the only site currently notified to the Commissioners as liable for the vacant site levy.
Two sites (which are in effect one site) identified by Dublin City Council at St. John’s Road/Military Road, were placed on the Council’s 2017 vacant sites register. The site is the location for the proposed new Garda Security and Crime Operations Centre and the notice was successfully appealed to An Bord Pleanála as being not appropriate to the vacant site register and no longer appears on that register.
The OPW actively manages a portfolio of some 2,500 properties throughout the country. At any given time it is normal that a number of properties are vacant. In the case of the OPW portfolio, the majority of properties vacant are former Garda stations closed under the 2012/13 closure programme. As these stations were subject to examination under the recent policing review, OPW was specifically requested not to dispose of them. As this review has now completed, the future of the remaining stations will now be determined. Of the original 139 stations closed only 51 remain within the portfolio.
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.