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State plans to slash its rental bill

CIVIL servants will have to settle for smaller offices and fewer car-parking spaces as part of a radical reduction of the State's property empire.

Junior minister Brian Hayes will bring a memo to Cabinet next month, seeking powers to manage state properties more efficiently. He said a "large stick approach" was needed.

"The day of departments demanding what they want, whether they are in Dublin 2 or Dublin 4, or X number of car parking spaces attached, that day is over," he said.

The State currently owns or rents around 2,500 properties. However, this is going to be reduced in line with the drop in public sector numbers.

Mr Hayes said: "We need to get rid of this silo mentality where just because you are a certain individual, you have a certain amount of space."

Leases

He added that he would like to see properties left vacant by the Office of Public Works (OPW) -- such as closed garda stations -- used by schools, the health service or communities.

The annual bill to the State for renting properties is €110m, but it plans to seek rent reductions on 50 leases this year.

Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming has called on the OPW to enter discussions with NAMA about the developers who are renting buildings to the State.

Irish Independent