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Figures supplied to the Medical Independent (MI) by the OPW show that €386,000 was spent on maintenance of the Dublin building last year. This is more than double that of both the total in 2013 (€135,000) and in 2014 (€142,000).
A significant amount of the increase was because of protective work that had to be done to the external fabric of the building last year. The work was carried out because of safety concerns with the possibility of surface material falling from the building.
The maintenance spend on Hawkins House for this year, until the beginning of June, was €123,000.
“There is no pre-defined advance maintenance budget set for Hawkins House,” an OPW spokesperson told MI.
“Annual maintenance costs include statutory maintenance contracts, building maintenance works and protective works to external fabric.”
Hawkins House is due to be demolished and rebuilt, with the Department of Health being permanently relocated to the former Bank of Ireland headquarters on Lower Baggot Street in Dublin. The relocation is due to begin in the first half of next year.
The OPW would not confirm to MI what the rent would cost in the new building. The Department currently pays no rent in Hawkins House, as the OPW is the landlord.
“We are not in a position to announce the new rent agreement yet as the lease is still in the legal approval process and not signed,” said the OPW spokesperson.
“I can say that it is significantly lower than current market rents for prime grade A offices.”
As reported in the last edition of MI (7 July), Department of Health staff will share their new Lower Baggot Street premises with the Department of Children and one other as yet unnamed Department.