'Value for money': Leinster House restoration will cost €17m as it more than doubles original estimate
The cost of restoration work at Leinster House more than doubling to €17m and this week's invasion of the Dáil bar by a rat were raised with Oireachtas chiefs at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Peter Finnegan, secretary general of the Houses of the Oireachtas Service, defended the costs of refurbishing the 18th- century building, insisting it represented "outstanding value for money". He did not address TDs' remarks on the rat situation.
Fine Gael's Alan Farrell jokingly suggested ratatouille could be put on the canteen menu but also added more seriously that "pest control" was a concern to people working in Leinster House. He added: "It's not a question. It's just a very badly performed pun on my part."
Independent TD Catherine Connolly said she took comfort that the rats hadn't deserted Leinster House, adding: "This ship isn't sinking yet. So it looks like we might be back and there's no election looming."
Mr Finnegan told TDs "essential restoration and structural works" on Leinster House were almost complete with the handover from the Office of Public Works - which has been managing the project - due to take place on August 2.
Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane asked about original estimates which were put at €8m in 2017. Mr Finnegan said this had been "quite a rough estimate" and confirmed the cost would be around €17m.
He said reasons for the overspend included the need for additional fire-proofing and how the requirement for some of the work had not been known before contractors arrived on site.
Mr Finnegan said it had been the only major spending on restoration and averaged out over 275 years it was outstanding value for money.