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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Flood barriers to get less than half of €1bn budget

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

THE Office of Public Works (OPW) will spend €400m sourcing new offices for civil servants, but just €480m building flood defences.

Despite the devastating floods which hit large parts of the country last year, the State has decided to invest almost half the department's €1bn allocation in 'modern' offices.

The money will be spent on offices and on garda stations, including upgrading detention facilities for prisoners. Investment is also needed in Department of Social Protection offices.

Another €29m will be spent on sites and €50m maintaining cultural and heritage buildings.

"The strategic objective of the new works programme is to successfully deliver on the Government's accommodation requirements," the report said.

"Proposals for office accommodation will be subject to the existing value for money test which looks at leasing as an alternative to new buildings."

It added there was a "critical requirement" for flood defence works, which should be delivered at a lower cost because of falling tender prices.

However the report does not set out where the flood defences will be built.

Environment Minister John Gormley also said yesterday that almost €3.5bn will be spent upgrading and building water treatment plants so Ireland complies with EU rules.

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