Dublin's Lord Mayor has defended the spiralling cleaning and maintenance costs associated with one of the city's best known land marks, the Spire.
Christy Burke defended the mounting cleaning bill for the Spire as Dublin City Council advertised for tenders from firms to clean and maintain the Spire over the next three years.
The 120-metre tall stainless steel monument was erected in 2003 and was built to celebrate the Millennium.
The costs of cleaning and maintaining the Spire since 2003 by the end of this year will run to around €2.5m - more than half the €4.6m construction cost of the Spire.
Currently, Aramark Property has the €192,900 plus VAT three -year contract for maintenance of "all structural, mechanical, electrical and communication equipment associated with the Spire of Dublin". The contract is due to expire next year.
The Spire was originally touted as being 'self-cleaning' as it was designed to allow rain to flow off, taking any dirt with it. However, the cleaning costs will continue with the new contract on offer and Mr Burke said this was necessary.
"You can't let the Spire run and rot and become an eyesore. It is an iconic part of Dublin and it has to be maintained.
"We have to keep it clean and in good condition. It is a place where people come to take photographs and come to congregate so it is very important that it is kept clean," he said.
The Lord Mayor added that, "you have to be a realist on this and spend the money on cleaning and I'm sure that the council is getting the best value for money in going out to tender for the new contract.
"I believe that the Spire is an asset to Dublin. They have done a nice job with it and the celebrations for 1916 are coming up, so we have to make sure that the city is looking its best."
An average of almost €225,000 has been spent on maintaining the structure each year between 2003 and 2011.
The largest sum was paid in 2007 when €435,432 was spent on cleaning and lighting repairs. Similar work costing €324,868 was carried out the following year.
The largest portion of the cleaning cost is the hiring of a lift to give workers access to the 2,000 white LED lights on top of the 120m structure.
Those seeking to tender for the works contract must have recorded revenues of €500,000 in any of the previous three years. The City Council has given a deadline of February 2 for the receipt of tenders.