Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Barry Cowen TD has said that public money is being wasted by the State as it spends €88m per annum on renting office space while some 96 state owned properties remain idle.

Deputy Cowen was commenting as information received by Fianna Fáil shows that 395 properties are rented across the country while some €600,000 per annum is spent on maintaining empty premises.

Deputy Cowen explained, “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 station, lie idle.

“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. From January we will have a ridiculous situation whereby one state property will be subject to the vacant site levy.

“It’s important that the tax payer gets full value for money for the rent paid to private property owners. We should not get sucked into paying massive sums of money on rent while we have buildings gathering moss”, concluded Deputy Cowen.