Tuesday 17 October 2017

FAS takes €1.1m hit on temporary office for just 17 staff

Michael Brennan

Michael Brennan

FAS has admitted that it has taken a €1.1m loss on a temporary office for just 17 staff in Offaly.

The office in Birr was leased in 2004 for ten years at an annual rent of €100,000.  The aim was to build a permanent headquarters in the town later on as part of former Fianna Fáil Minister Charlie McCreevy's decentralisation programme.

But after cancellation of the decentralisation project, FAS moved to pull out of the lease.

It had to write off €1.1m on fixtures and fittings it had put into the temporary office. The 17 staff have since moved to FAS's office in Tullamore or to the Department of Social Protection.

FAS also spent €1.5m on buying a site to build a permanent office near Birr- but has now put up this site for sale at a minimum price of €150,000.

At the Dail's Public Accounts committee, Labour TD Derek Nolan said it seemed like an extraordinary waste of money.

The committee also heard that other issues had been referred by FAS to Gardai. One is a €150,000 job training project in Tipperary where there are question marks over the type of work carried out for the money spent. 

The other is an investigation into ineligible expenditure of €28,000 in a FAS Community Employment Scheme relating to the period 2004 to 2007.

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