THE OFFICE of Public Works (OPW) has said there are no plans to sell land purchased as part of the Government decentralisation scheme, but that it will consider alternative uses for some sites.
The Government has spent €230 million on decentralisation, with over €220 million of that going on property costs. More than 2,500 public service posts have to date been moved to new locations outside Dublin.
The figures emerged following parliamentary questions by Fine Gael TD John Deasy.
He said the OPW spent €10.1 million on two derelict sites in Dungarvan and Waterford which would be left derelict because of the shelving of the decentralisation programme in the Budget.
He said he had approached the OPW and asked that the land be made available for investment projects in the area. He had also spoken to the IDA which had agreed to list the sites as available to possible investors.
"The Government paid a premium rate for many of these sites," he said. "They must be pragmatic and practical about these sites and make them available for development. It's common sense."
He said if decentralisation ever did go ahead, which was unlikely, other sites could be found.
"The OPW is open to it. They've agreed to take proposals from local authorities and deal with the IDA," Mr Deasy said.
He urged the OPW to take the same attitude toward other decentralisation sites around the country.
A spokesman for the OPW said the decision on the sites in Waterford had been deferred until 2011, but decentralisation could well go ahead. "If another proposal is put to us, we will consider it," he said.
"But we have no plans to dispose of the site we acquired."
The Irish Times