Belfast Telegraph

Fine Gael reveals HQ revamp bill

Fine Gael is to splash out more than half a million euro renovating its party headquarters.

But the senior Government partner insisted it would not be availing of a tax break, introduced in recent months, to help restore historic houses in urban areas.

Officials based at the HQ at 51 Upper Mount Street, in the heart of Georgian Dublin, were moved to a building next door as works began on the costly upgrade.

Refurbishment will include a refit of all internal services, including plumbing, lighting, electrics and fire alarms, along with other alterations and outfitting.

No work has been done to the building in about 20 years, the party said.

A tax relief introduced by Finance Minister Michael Noonan in February to help owners restore Georgian buildings would not apply to the house as the scheme was presently restricted to Limerick and Waterford, according to a party spokeswoman.

Under the legislation, Mr Noonan has the power to designate which areas are suitable for the financial incentive.

Fine Gael owns the building on Upper Mount Street, just a few minutes walk from Leinster House, and said it would pay for the refurbishments out of the party coffers.

"It is envisaged the project will cost in excess of 0.5 million euro," said a party spokeswoman.

Asked for the party's current bank balance, she said the latest available figures were for 2011, published in the programme for last year's Fine Gael ard fheis. The accounts for the general election year states the party had debts of 1.235 million euro, with 715,000 euro in the bank.

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