AFTER A RAFT of garda station closures in recent years, there are now over 200 vacant public properties dotted around the country.
The vast majority of that number are former stations and garda residences.
Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin confirmed the updated number in an answer to a Dáil question tabled by Independent TD Mick Wallace this week.
Howlin said the OPW had a “clearly defined policy” in relation to vacant State properties that had been deemed surplus to requirements.
And he said the agency engaged with other public service bodies and local councils to establish possible alternative uses in advance of selling off the properties.
Howlin announced last year that 139 garda stations the Government had closed in the previous two years were to be sold on the open market.
In one auction of former stations, held in March of this year, five stations in rural locations around Cork, Wexford, Galway and Tipperary changed hands for less than €600,000.
Some of the larger closed-down stations in the Dublin area, like Dalkey, Stepaside and Kill of the Grange are currently occupied by ‘live-in guardians’ who pay a reduced rent to property management company Camelot to live there, with certain strict conditions attached.