HSE defends rental of empty office space in County Limerick town

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

THE HSE has been accused of wasting money on the rental of two office spaces in Newcastle West, which it admits are going largely unused.

THE HSE has been accused of wasting money on the rental of two office spaces in Newcastle West, which it admits are going largely unused.

The HSE has been paying for the use of two rooms in a private building near Lacey’s Cross on the outskirts of the town since 2002, which house its home help coordinator services. However, one of the rooms is currently empty and unused while the second is only occupied for a few hours a day.

One Newcastle West woman who contacted the Limerick Leader to complain, but wished to remain anonymous, described the renting of the offices as “a complete waste of money”.

“It’s a joke. They’ve two offices there, and they’re only using one of them a few hours a day. The other’s lying idle the whole time, but they’re paying away for it.

“They’re pushing all these cuts, but they can get away with this waste of money. It’s not on.”

In response to a query about its renting of the two offices, a HSE spokesperson said that due to the nature of home help services, the premises is often empty during most of the day.

“The HSE is currently renting two rooms in a premises near Lacey’s Cross. The offices are being used by the home help co-ordinator services.

“The role of a home help co-ordinator involves the need to meet clients outside of these premises and as such the coordinator would not be in the office all day.”

The spokesperson added that one of the two offices is “temporarily unoccupied” due to the retirement of a staff member.

“Efforts are ongoing for the redeployment of a staff member to this location having regard to the services requirements in all areas”, the spokesperson said.

The HSE’s main presence in Newcastle West is at St Ita’s Community Hospital on Gortboy, which also serves as the location for its local health clinics.

The HSE is operating at a deficit of close to €300 million for the year to date, and has announced the extension of its recruitment embargo.