THE government spends more than €3 million a year on private rental properties in Cork, the second highest rate in Ireland, it has been revealed.
There are currently 395 properties rented by the Commissioners of Public Works from private landlords across Ireland, of which two are currently unoccupied.
The expenditure on these properties last year alone totalled around €88 million, including €3,153,923 in Cork and almost €70 million in Dublin.
The figures were revealed following a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Barry Cowen, who labelled the expenditure a waste of public money.
The information obtained by Mr Cowen also showed that 96 state-owned properties around Ireland remain idle while some €600,000 per annum is spent on maintaining empty premises.
Of these 96 unoccupied state properties, 50 are Garda Stations that were closed under the 2012/2013 Policing Plans of An Garda Siochana.
Of the remaining 46 properties, 23 are in the process of being transferred to local authorities or other State bodies, seven are being prepared for disposal, one is under consideration for community use and 15 are being examined for alternative State use or are being retained for strategic purposes.
“Recent information received by my party shows that the Government is spending vast amounts of money renting office space while state-owned properties, including 50 Garda stations, lie idle,” Mr Cowen said.
"A list of empty state properties should be furnished and where feasible, rented offices should be transferred to them.
“The state has a duty to keep costs down and maintain a suitable property portfolio. It’s important that the taxpayer gets full value for money for the rent paid to private property owners."