Staff were relocated to Lissanalta House, Dooradoyle
LIMERICK City and County Council spent in the region of €100,000 to move a team of council staff into new office space — less than half a mile from their previous location.
In recent weeks, 25 members of the Fire Service and Civil Defence were moved from County Hall, in Dooradoyle, and relocated to Lissanalta House, 750 metres away.
A spokesperson for the council said that the move cost €66,000, excluding VAT, which included site clearance, demolition of block wall, furniture assembly/removal, new meeting space,30 work stations, equipment/cabling and welfare facilities.
However, a source said that the figure does not factor in the costs for other works, such as the provision of parking.
It is believed the move to the former motor tax office happened as a result of planning department staff being moved from Patrick Street in the city to County Hall.
Fianna Fáil councillor James Collins told the Leader that it was “hard to justify some of the sums of money that are being spent reorganising office space".
He added: “Now, we have less money to spend on parks, and we have less money to spend on community use. This is an issue we will have to raise, as we simply do not have enough money to be spending on reorganising office space."
Cllr Collins wanted to use Lissanalta House for a Men’s Sheds project, following the relocation of the motor tax office from the premises. He welcomed the new home for the project, at a council depot, in Ballykeeffe.
Planning department staff from moved from County Hall to Patrick Street in 2014, after the council purchased the former AIB property for an estimated €300,000. Last month, a number of planning department staff moved back to County Hall as part of the set-up of a new Planning and Environment Services Department.
Cllr Collins said that the Patrick Street building "was purchased for the planning department, as a cornerstone of the Opera Centre. It was purchased and the councillors had no role in the decision-making. It was just done and, likewise, in sanctioning the expenditure to renovate it.
“The idea at the time was that they would come to the centre of the city to rejuvenate the centre of the city, to show prospective developers what might be possible nearby. A number of months later, that rationale is scrapped, and sending everybody back to where they were.”
Cllr Collins said that a number of staff “are not happy about being moved around. Some staff have been moved around two or three times at this stage. It is very difficult to be given a reason doing something to justify the expenditure which seems on the high side, and then a number of months later, the rationale has changed and you are given a different reason."
Other services operating from Lissanalta House include the Mid-West Roads Design Office and Regional Waste Management, the library service, Irish Water and the laboratory.