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The 'An Siopa' newsagent inside the gates of Leinster House on Kildare Street, Dublin, for which the final construction bill has come to nearly €1.3m

The 'An Siopa' newsagent inside the gates of Leinster House on Kildare Street, Dublin, for which the final construction bill has come to nearly €1.3m

The 'An Siopa' newsagent inside the gates of Leinster House on Kildare Street, Dublin, for which the final construction bill has come to nearly €1.3m

THE final cost of the Dail's new shop has risen to a staggering €1.3m, according to figures obtained by the Irish Independent.

The glass-framed kiosk shop at the main gate of Leinster House on Kildare Street amounts to roughly 40sq m (431sq ft) in size, and must surely rank as the most expensive tuck shop ever built in Ireland.

According to figures obtained by the Irish Independent under the Freedom of Information Act, it cost €1,061,667, excluding VAT, to build the newsagent's store between March 2007 and January 2008. The bill rises to €1,280,867 when VAT is added.

The shop, which was opened in January by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue, has an outside canopy area for press interviews and television crews. The OPW originally claimed the final cost of 'An Siopa' would be around €800,000 excluding VAT.

However, documents obtained by the Irish Independent reveal that another €180,000 to cover fees and €50,000 to cover the internal fit-out costs has resulted in a separate bill for €274,500, including VAT at 21pc and 13.5pc respectively.

Out of the overall bill of €1.3m, the main contractor received €495,775 including VAT at 21pc. The next highest amount was paid to the glazing contractor, who received €413,248, while the electrical contractor got €97,291.

The newsagent, which is used by politicians and Oireachtas staff, was designed by the award-winning architect's firm Bucholz-McEvoy and is staffed by the National Rehabilitation Centre.

Measured

Labour's Ciaran Lynch said the shop costs were "exorbitant". He had previously questioned the spending of €100,000 on refurbishing the Ceann Comhairle's office and €250,000 on the new office of the former Taoiseach.

"The costs do raise questions as to any development in the Leinster House area and how those costs are managed," he said. "There needs to be a measurable approach to this, and €1.3m does seem like an exorbitant sum of money.

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"The shop itself provides a very good service and is staffed by the National Rehabilitation Centre, but once again we find ourselves with questions being asked about developments in the Leinster House area at the end of the process. This does need examination."

The Office of Public Works (OPW), which oversaw the project, said the original retail outlet inside the main gate of Leinster House was demolished and replaced with a "bespoke-designed building to complement the new security pavilion in the precinct".

"The works included the construction of an enlarged functional transparent glass building with a new external glazed covered area which facilitates the holding of press interviews in inclement weather," the OPW stated in response to the FOI request.

"Substantial landscaping work including the provision of timber decking and outdoor seating was also carried out. Additional lighting was also installed to improve safety for persons entering and exiting Leinster House."

Junior Minister Noel Ahern previously defended the costs associated with building the shop, claiming the replacement of the "unsightly concrete block structure which served as a shop" had been necessary.


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