Dáil debates

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 6: General: Financial Resolution (Resumed)


7:25 pm

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick County, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I am delighted the Government has continued to support the work of the Office of Public Works in 2023. Our gross allocation of €609 million demonstrates the confidence the Government has in the Office of Public Works to continue to perform our key infrastructure delivery and protection role. The Government support on the back of the significant allocation of investment funds in the national development plan, NDP, leaves the Chairman and staff of the Office of Public Works well-positioned to deliver the programme for Government both in terms of flood risk management and estate management responsibilities.

The ongoing work under the flood risk management programme, which includes climate adaptation measures, will see substantial completion in 2022 of the Douglas and Ashbourne flood relief schemes. In 2023, funding of €125 million will be available to provide protection to communities throughout Ireland from the impacts of climate change. This funding will allow for substantial completion of four major flood relief schemes at Athlone, Templemore, Springfield and the Dodder in Dublin, providing protection for more than 1,500 homes and businesses.

Commencement will begin, following a consent process, on up to seven major flood relief schemes at King's Island in Limerick, Raphoe, Morrison's Island in Cork, the Poddle, Glashaboy, Blackpool and Crossmolina in County Mayo. These projects will provide flood protection to more than 2,500 properties when completed, and include the maintenance of more than 2,000 km of arterial drainage channels throughout the country and 112 km of flood defence embankments.

In parallel, on the estate management programme, the Office of Public Works will further support key climate action targets by increasing the energy efficiency of the State's portfolio as well as delivering on the Government's ambitious National Development Plan 2021-2030.

An amount of €154 million will be provided in 2023 to progress major projects such as a new Government data centre at Backweston, County Kildare, a new office development at Leeson Lane and the fit-out of the Distillers Building in Dublin 7. In addition, the deep retrofit of Tom Johnson House will be an exemplar of an energy-efficient State office for occupation as a headquarters building by the lead Irish Government Department on the environment, namely, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

The total provision of €484 million to the estate management programme will allow the Office of Public Works to strive towards the creation of a more agile, digitally enabled, climate-friendly workspace that will meet the current and future operational needs of our client Departments and will see further progress towards a programme of proactive building maintenance for more than 2,000 buildings in the care of the Office of Public Works. As part of estate management, the Office of Public Works has been provided with additional funding to increase recruitment of professional and technical staff such as architects, quantity surveyors and engineers. The funding allows the Office of Public Works to design, manage and implement key projects on other Departments' behalf such as the Government's nationwide modular homes project to house Ukrainian refugees, improved infrastructure at Rosslare Europort to deal with the dramatic upsurge in activities such as Brexit, and to implement the An Garda Síochána capital build programme, including the completion of Military Road and the redevelopment of Bailieborough Garda station in 2023, among others. Progress is also being made on the national Irish Coast Guard station upgrade programme, including at Bunmahon in County Waterford.

Finally, the 2023 allocation will continue to allow the State to present its wonderful heritage assets to the public, which have provided much needed respite to all in recent years. The value of these heritage assets to the State cannot be overstated. We will continue to protect our built and archaeological heritage through sustainable conservation and refurbishment for the enjoyment of current and future generations. In 2022, the heritage estate will see improvement projects in Phoenix Park, Dublin Castle and across many other locations throughout the country, including a new Blasket visitor centre, Anne's Grove and the Céide Fields visitor centre in County Mayo. The much valued and essential work of the Office of Public Works will continue at pace due to this 2023 allocation.

I know the Leas-Cheann Comhairle will agree with me that the Office of Public Works has a very special place in the hearts of everybody who works in this House. It should be complemented for work it does in looking after all of us.


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