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Public sector hoovering up office space in capital as it's becoming Dublin's fastest growing employer

Over 4,900 jobs were created in public administration last year, according to the latest Savills Ireland report.

File photo. Dublin city
File photo. Dublin city
Image: Shutterstock/islavicek

A SURGE IN public sector jobs has meant it has taken a big share of office space in Dublin over the last year.

According to the latest report from Savills Ireland, public administration and defence is Dublin’s fastest growing jobs sector, with around 4,900 new positions taken up in the past year – a rise of 14.7%. 

Recent moves have seen the Department of Health going from Hawkins House to the newly refurbished Miesian Plaza, and the NTMA switching from the Treasury Building to No 1 Dublin Landings.

A number of State bodies also acquired new office space in the first three months of this year, with Tailte Éireann – a government agency formed from the merger of the Property Registration Authority, Ordnance Survey Ireland and the Valuation Office – pre-letting 16,722 sq metres of space at the Distillers Building in Smithfield.

The Central Bank has also agreed to acquire blocks 4 and 5 at Dublin Landings, which is currently under development.

Savills’ report estimates that the average office employee in Dublin now occupies 10.3 sq metres of space. This increase of 4,900 jobs in public administration should then translate into a requirement for approximately 50,000 sq metres of additional business space.

Dr John McCartney, head of research at Savills who wrote the report, said the impact of the public sector on the office market in Dublin had gone “relatively unnoticed” with the announcements by large multinationals in the ICT sector “overshadowing its significance”.

“However, since 2012, take-up of office space by public sector bodies has risen by over 1,000%, which reflects significant jobs growth in the sector – particularly since 2015, when the recruitment embargo was lifted,” he said.

This increase of jobs in the public sector in Dublin comes at a time when the government currently has no further plans to introduce more decentralisation programmes.

In February, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said in response to a parliamentary question that when the Fianna Fáil government’s decentralisation plan of the early 2000s was axed in 2011, over 3,400 civil servant posts had been moved out of Dublin.

“The proportion of civil servants working outside Dublin is now in the region of just over 50%,” Donohoe said.

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Sean Murray

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