Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2018

Department rental costs top €4m/year

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Over €4m a year is being paid out in rent on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, the Farming Independent has confirmed.

Figures from the Office of Public Works show that the Department is renting more than 200,000sqft of office space in 46 different locations across the country.

This is despite long promised cuts to the extent of the Department's office network first flagged in July last year.

Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith promised at the time to reduce the number of local offices from 57 to 16 'enhanced' regional offices, and part of this plan was to move the 67 staff currently based in rented offices in Galway city centre to vacant offices in Athenry.

The buildings at Athenry have been vacant for seven months despite Department assurances that it is "making significant progress in implementing a comprehensive reconfiguration of the Department's local office structure".

Rents paid on behalf of the Department vary hugely from as little as €68/m2 in Thurles, Co Tipperary, to nearly €500/m2 in St Stephen's Green in Dublin city centre (see table).

In addition to the rationalisation of local offices, the Department claims it is reducing its working staff by 400 in these offices.

It says that this will bring annual savings of €30m to its running costs. There are already 1,200 fewer full-time staff employed in the Department compared to five years ago.

Also Read

The biggest annual payout from the Department is for an office building at Dockgate Street, Galway, where the total rent is €375,000.

The second most expensive is Houston Hall, Limerick, where the annual rental cost is €366,097.

In third spot in terms of overall cost is Hibernian House in Cork, which costs the Department €321,500 a year.


In terms of most expensive office on a square foot basis, the Department's premises at St Stephen's Green -- which is just around the corner from its head office in Kildare Street -- tops the list at €494/ft2. The total yearly rental charge for this property is €205,270.

However, the Department's most expensive rented facility is at East Wall, Dublin, which costs €606/ft2. The listed use for this is listed simply as "miscellaneous". The total annual rental cost for this unit is €278,000.

Meanwhile, the Department last week announced the opening of its first regional offices at Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim.

This regional office consolidates the operations at one location of three former local offices providing district veterinary, and agricultural environment and structures support services for Leitrim, Longford and Sligo.

The Department claims that the opening of this new office will result in financial savings of €30m a year, when fully implemented, and will lead to a reduction of more than 400 staff.

Irish Independent