Committee Reports::Report - Appropriation Accounts 1941 - 1942::24 February, 1944::Appendix



Qns. 154-161 1932

The site and premises were acquired from the Dublin Corporation by the Agricultural Credit Corporation on lease from the 25th March, 1932, at a rent of £500 per annum.

The Post Office had been seeking improved premises in this area for many years, but the cost of property adjoining the College Green B.O. (Nos. 28 and 29) was prohibitive—we were offered No. 30 College Green for £20,000, subject to £95 rent, but it is on different levels to our existing College Green Office and would require to be gutted to be of any use to us. Moreover it has a frontage of 20 feet only and would not suffice.

The Agricultural Credit Corporation demolished the several old houses in St. Andrew Street and proposed to rebuild—merging them all into one. We approached them for a lease of the ground floor (103 feet frontage) and half the basement. They agreed, but demanded £2,250 rent inclusive of rates. This was excessive, the Board of Works rental valuation being £743, excluding rates. We negotiated for some time, but the Agricultural Credit Corporation would not modify their terms.

We put up a proposal to the Agricultural Credit Corporation to bear the cost of building the Post Office portion of the premises (£17,000) and pay a ground rent of £500. After lengthy discussions they agreed, but subsequently withdrew and cancelled all negotiations as they found that, on this basis, the cost of their accommodation would work out at approximately £1,400 per annum, which they regarded as too high.

The matter remained in abeyance until we subsequently suggested fresh arrangements—that the Post Office should bear half the cost of rebuilding and pay £500 ground rent, or alternatively that the Post Office should acquire the whole site from the Agricultural Credit Corporation and rent the upper floors and half the basement to the Agricultural Credit Corporation and the Industrial Credit Company. The Agricultural Credit Corporation to pay £850 rent and the Industrial Credit Company to pay £600 rent. Finance approved the latter arrangement on 15.6.35.

Before effect could be given to this arrangement, however, the Industrial Credit Company withdrew (18.2.36) and the Agricultural Credit Corporation opened up negotiations with the Irish Sugar Company with a view to their taking the place of the Industrial Credit Company. These negotiations came to nothing, however, and the Agricultural Credit Corporation then proposed to take over the rent of £1,450 if allowed to sublet some of the offices. The Department of Finance authorised this arrangement (28.2.36). There was some difficulty over the form of the agreement of transfer of the site to the Post Office as we desired changes in some of the clauses of the original Deed and there was further delay due to an endeavour by the Credit Corporation to make the Dublin Corporation a party to the transfer Deed, the matter not being finally settled until July, 1937.

In the meantime the Board of Works had proceeded with the preparation of fresh plans, but the lengthy strike in the building trade (over 6 months) held up operations and when the scheme was ready for tenders the Agricultural Credit Corporation decided to withdraw entirely (15.11.37) from the arrangement on the ground that the building would not be ready for them in time, but this necessitated a further reference to the Department of Finance (25.2.38) in which it was suggested that if the Agricultural Credit Corporation were to be released the entire building should be allocated to the Post Office. We were informed on 27.5.38 that the Agricultural Credit Corporation were to be released, but that the proposal to use the entire site for Post Office purposes was not accepted and that the matter had been referred to the Office of Works to consider the Government’s general requirements.

We again opened up the Post Office case, however, in connection with the Telephone Exchange position in Dublin, and proposed the utilisation of part of this site for Telephone purposes and part for the purpose of a Branch Post Office, that is to say, the utilisation of the whole site for Post Office purposes, and on 10th July, 1939, the Department of Finance gave authority accordingly.

It was not until this date, 10th July, 1939, that the site passed entirely into Post Office hands.

The decision to house a new Telephone Exchange in the new building involved the preparation of fresh plans, as those for a Telephone Exchange are exceptional on account of the heavy floor loads and the necessity for clear floor space free from obstruction such as intermediate pillars or stanchions. The Office of Works estimated that the preparation of plans, etc., for such a structure would occupy from 12 to 15 months and that the construction operations would take 18 months or more. The advent of the War, however, leading to an acute shortage of essential building materials, prevented actual building operations on the site. The plans had been prepared on the basis of heavy steel construction, but in October, 1941, it became evident that steel could not be obtained, and the plans were recast to provide for reinforced concrete construction which it was hoped would be feasible. Sketch plans on this basis were prepared in June, 1942, but the Office of Works advised in September, 1942, that even this type of building could not be erected in present circumstances as the necessary materials are not available; nor are they likely to be available until the conclusion of the emergency.

The original lease from the Dublin Corporation to the Agricultural Credit Corporation provided that the building should be completed by 29th September, 1935. This date has been extended from time to time until January, 1944, and it will be necessary, in the present circumstances, to approach the Corporation for a further extension.

(Signed) P. S. O’HEGARTY,

Accounting Officer,

Department of Posts and Telegraphs.

17adh Lúnasa, 1943.