Almost €220k spent on OPW building upkeep in Cavan
Almost €220,000 was spent by the Office of Public Works (OPW) last year on the upkeep of State-owned buildings in Cavan.
The total figure represents a near 20% increase in costs to the Government’s property portfolio manager in the county compared to the €184,271.41 spent in 2020.
Included in that is €2,558.57 spent on the upkeep of Bawnboy Garda Station in 2021, which continues to be the subject of “ongoing discussion” between An Garda Síochána and the OPW regarding its promised reopening.
A sum of €2,294.49 was spent in 2020, with a further expected €200,000 required in order to get the station ready for reopening. The discovery of asbestos in part of the building delayed initial renovation plans.
Upkeep costs rose in more than half of all State owned buildings in Cavan where money was spent between 2020 and 2021, according to information obtained through Freedom of Information by The Anglo-Celt. The buildings the State owns and manages in Cavan range from garda stations to Ballyhaise Agricultural College, as well as a number of Government offices catering for staff working for the Department of Agriculture and other statutory services.
The largest single spend increase was at Kingscourt Garda Station where the OPW forked out €32,439.95 in upkeep costs in 2021, more than 10 times the amount spent on the same building in 2020 (€3,078.23).
Other significant increases in upkeep expenditure were recorded at Cootehill Garda Station and the single attached residence where €13,382.58 was spent in 2021, up from €1,785.71 in 2020; €10,423.58 at Ballyconnell Garda Station, up from €5,904.74; and €10,192.31 at Ballyjamesduff Garda Station, up from €2,355.69. Cavan Garda Station on Farnham Street, which underwent major refurbishment to house the Armed Response Unit, had €34,601.24 spent on it in 2021, two thirds more what was paid out for the previous 12 months. Just over €35,298.11 was spent on upkeep at the Cavan Decentralised Agricultural Office, a 77% increase compared to the €19,958.99 outlay the year before.
There were decreases in expenditure recorded also, where an outlay in 2020 meant less money needed to be spent in 2021.
Bailieborough Garda Station, which is set to be replaced by newly-built offices at the former NIB bank in the centre of town, saw €11,355.59 spent in 2021, 28% less than in 2020 (€15,776.32); €2,031.77 in Belturbet Garda Station, down 75%; and just €1,588.60 at Blacklion Garda Station and Remote Access Exchange, compared to €17.053.61 in 2020.
Almost €16,000 was spent on upkeep at a State-owned building to the rear of 65 Main Street, Cavan Town, in 2020. The same property only required €1,183.25 to be spent last year, whereas nothing was spent on upkeep at Virginia Garda Station in 2021, with €6,346.06 paid out in 2020. Similarly in Arva, €908.68 was spent two years ago.
Stradone station to be auctioned
The former Garda Station in Stradone (pictured above), set to be sold at auction next month, had €8,783.77 spent on it in 2021, up 39% compared to the €6,327.63 paid out in 2020; while the former Garda Station in Stradone, which replaced it, had €7,310.39, up 65% (€4,410.65). Upkeep costs nearly trebled at the former Garda Station in Redhills to €2,536.73 in 2021 (€99.13 2020); and fell by almost the same at Dowra Garda Station Shannon Bridge, to €1,143.01.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the OPW has confirmed that once the reopening of Bawnboy Garda Station has been agreed, the programme for the works is expected to take about 12 weeks to complete.
“The tender evaluation for Bawnboy Garda Station is now complete,” said a spokesperson for the department. “This matter is the subject of ongoing discussion between An Garda Síochána and the Office of Public Works. The programme for the works will take about 12 weeks to complete.”
Bawnboy station was one of six shut in the Cavan-Monaghan Garda District as part of cost-cutting measures in 2012-13 by then Justice Minister Alan Shatter.
But a reopening has been on the cards since 2017. The West Cavan station was named among six for reopening by then acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin in November 2017.
Last year Garda Commissioner Drew Harris told The Anglo-Celt that libraries, council buildings and even some other State owned buildings could be used to house on-duty gardaí as the force examines “alternatives” to traditional stations in communities.
“Not every garda station needs cells,” said Comm Harris.
Former local garda stations up for auction
Two former local garda station buildings are set to be sold at auction next month.
The former barracks in Stradone, Cavan, and also in Drumkeeran, in neighbouring Co Leitrim have been included in an online auction set for February 10. The sales event will be managed by Sligo and Manorhamilton-based DM Auctioneers on behalf of the Office of Public Works (OPW).
The Stradone property, with a guide price of €50,000, is two-storeys in height and detached. It is located on 0.07 of a hectare roadside site (0.17 acres) and will go up for sale at 4pm on the day of the auction.
Closed in 2002, and replaced with a new smaller station next door, the former barracks building is described by the auctioneer as a “project” in the making. The former garda station in Drumkeeran meanwhile has been listed with a guideprice of €120,000.
All intending bidders must register on dmauctions.marteye.ie and contact DM Auctions, Sligo to organise paying a deposit in order to bid before Tuesday, February 8.
The expectation of Patsy Smith, auctioneer is that both will sell above the asking price. Both sales are Stamp Duty exempt.
“They’ve been priced very keenly, so I believe they’ll both exceed their listed prices,” he confidently told The Anglo-Celt. The sale of the building in Stradone will bring to three the number of former Garda Stations sold to date in County Cavan. The others include former barracks in Finea and Tullyvin.
No former Garda stations have yet been sold in Co Monaghan, however the Celt has learned that the former Garda Station at Newbliss is currently being “prepared for sale” by the OPW.