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“As previously indicated, the Medical Council has had to convert meeting room space in Kingram House to office space,” the spokesperson informed the Medical Independent (MI).
“The Medical Council also avails of the use of other facilities in the offices of other [healthcare professional] regulators when there are multiple inquiries ongoing at the same time or if there is a Council meeting taking place at the same time.” There are no room rental charges associated with this use, they added.
However, the Council’s spokesperson refused to disclose the cost of leasing meeting space on Leeson Street, as this was “commercially sensitive information”.
According to minutes of a Council meeting in September, seen by MI, it was informed of “progress on the requirement for additional meeting space in the short term”.
An initial three-month agreement for one meeting room was made with an office space rental agency. “This may be extended at a later date,” according to the minutes.
In early 2018, MI reported that Kingram House was “at capacity” and the Council was examining future options.
Controversially, the Council entered into arrangements in 2008 whereby it was subsequently tied into a 20-year lease at Kingram House, with annual rent far above market rates in recent years. The tenancy terms were subject to litigation, with the judgement in favour of Kingram House’s owner Tanat Ltd. The Council appealed this decision, but a confidential settlement was reached in 2015.
According to the Council’s 2017 annual report, “operating lease payments recognised as an expense were €820,000 (2016: €820,000).”