FOLLOWING the shocking waste of E1.8 million of the taxpayers money on the site for the proposed headquarters of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) in Thomastown, which has now been abandoned, Deputy Ann Phelan has asked the Government to keep the 3.1 acres of land involved for the benefit of Grennan College, Thomastown which is adjacent to the site.
In a written parliamentary question to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton she asked that the school have the long term use of the site. She has also asked the Minister to make a statement on the matter which he has not done yet.
It has now transpired that the sate is paying rent of €79,000 per annum at MacDonagh Junction shopping centre in the city where 27 members of HSA staff are deployed.
Curiously, the cancellation of the HSA’s move to Thomastown did not appear in any Government statements on decentralisation.
Labour councillor in the area, Michael O’Brien, said it was clear in 2008 that the decentralisation “dream” was over for Thomastown. At the time, he asked the Government to “cut the waffle and tell people the truth”. However, the purchase of the three acres of land near Grennan College went ahead in 2009, more than seven years after decentralisation was first mooted and at a time when Mr O’Brien indicated there were serious doubts that the project would go ahead and when property prices had fallen dramatically.