Thursday 18 December 2008

Renovations to archbishop of Dublin's palace cost €500,000

The Catholic Church spent more then €500,000 to renovate the Archbishop of Dublin's palace in Drumcondra over the last four years.

Figures obtained by the Irish Independent the total paid for doing up the house -- with more than €200,000 spent on the first floor alone.

A spokeswoman said last night that €100,000 of the overall figure went on renovating the kitchen, utility and laundry areas and fitting appliances.

But the spokeswoman refused to confirm that €94,000 was spent installing a top-of-the-range Miele kitchen for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin -- who has spent three decades as a Vatican diplomat and who likes to cook at home.

The spokesperson later said that €77,000 was spent on the actual Miele units and appliances for the kitchen, utility, laundry and storage area.

This area caters for up to 30 people at a time during various meetings, and houses industrial appliances suitable for such numbers, she said.

The figures come in the wake of an interview last Friday in which Archbishop Martin urged the Government to develop a robust national poverty strategy. He also urged people to mind their money.

"We would all be happier if we were a little bit more austere in our lifestyle. I think there is room for a lot of improvement," he told Pat Kenny on the 'Late Late Show'.


"Nobody is in favour of waste, throwing food away or spending on things that are absolutely useless. If we learn some of that it will be for the good of all of us."

While originally built as a residence for archbishops of Dublin, the archbishop's house is now primarily used for office and meeting purposes.

It contains office accommodation for the archbishop and seven other diocesan personnel.

The building also provides meeting facilities for a range of Church meetings, conferences and events and is an important diocesan resource.

Archbishop Martin and his immediate predecessors have occupied two rooms -- a bedroom and a study -- for their private use.

A spokeswoman confirmed that significant work was required on the downstairs area, which is over 100 years old.

"Kitchen and toilet facilities date back over 30 years and were in very poor repair and no longer in line with current health and safety standards," she said, "A complete overhaul . . . was required."

"Work on the ground floor began at the end of last year. The cost for this work is around €200,000," the spokeswoman added.

The overall cost to date of renovations over four years was €500,000.

Patricia McDonagh
Irish Independent

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