The Health Service Executive (HSE) recently unveiled its extensive surplus property portfolio, shedding light on a significant untapped resource for potential development. With a total of 214 vacant properties, the HSE revealed that 74 of them are currently in the process of being disposed of, marking a positive step towards maximizing the value of these assets.
Despite the progress, only 47 properties have specific valuations, some of which date back more than a decade. Significantly, the highest-valued property in the portfolio is St Finan’s Hospital in Killarney, with a price tag of €2.6 million. Other notable properties include Trudder House in Wicklow, valued at €1.2 million, and 99 Patrick Street in Dublin, priced at €850,000.
While Dublin boasts the highest proportion of properties on the list, with a total of 57, it is worth noting that the properties are scattered across all 26 counties in the southern region. Cork alone accommodates 19 of these buildings, including the vast Heatherside Hospital in Streamhill, currently available on the private market at €350,000.
Q: What is the current status of the properties for sale?
A: The HSE has confirmed that the properties for sale are deemed surplus to their needs and are at various stages of the disposal process. Currently, only 13 properties have agreements for sale in place.
Q: Are all surplus properties immediately available for sale?
A: Not necessarily. Non-profit State agencies must first offer their properties to the Land Development Agency (LDA), the State authority responsible for developing housing on public land. If the LDA declines, the properties can then be sold on the open market.
The size of the HSE’s idle property portfolio has sparked a debate on the need for an active land management agency. Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin argues that the lack of power for the LDA to compulsorily purchase disused properties incentivizes State bodies to retain their holdings. He asserts that until State bodies are compelled to dispose of these buildings, they will continue to sit idle instead of being utilized to address the ongoing housing crisis.
Although there is growing pressure to bring these vacant buildings back into use, there seems to be a lack of urgency within the government and State agencies to take action. Considering the pressing need for housing, it is evident that these surplus properties possess untapped potential that could significantly contribute to addressing Ireland’s current housing challenges.