€44m paid for sites that will never be used, report finds

THE Government paid out almost €44 million under its decentralisation programme for 12 sites for which there is now no intention to progress the relocation of staff.

Under the plan, 11,000 civil and public servants were to move from Dublin to 95 locations across the country. Last April, the Government deferred some of the moves. By that stage, just 3,621 had been relocated.

The Comptrollor & Auditor General’s report said 22 sites were acquired at a cost of €67.4 million. Of those, 15 were acquired at prices below the average benchmark level for the land while in seven cases the price paid exceeded that level.

However, the C&AG’s conclusion seemed to mitigate some of the blame. “Local authorities may have pitched prices (for sites) at levels that would attract jobs to their areas.

“Private vendors with property in town centre locations would be able to demand a premium based on the need for OPW to implement the decentralisation decision.”


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