Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that there are questions to be answered about the proper use of taxpayers’ money as figures released show that the cost of the HSE’s contract with the Citywest Hotel complex was €24,867,477 between 23rd March 2020 and 28th February 2021.
Teachta Crowe said:
“The HSE’s lease of Citywest cost €24,867,477 between 23rd March 2020 and 28th February 2021. Almost €25 million in 11 months.
“This is an astonishing amount of money for a facility that I believe was not used to its full potential at any stage.
“In 2014, Citywest changed hands for €29 million and, in 2019, it is believed to have been bought for €45 million. This shows just how much we have spent on leasing Citywest for a year.
“I understand that it was originally leased by the HSE for surge capacity in the event of a huge spike in Covid-19 cases and in case hospitals were overwhelmed. This was sensible at the time but once the danger of that had passed, a lot of the complex was practically lying idle for months.
“There are 1056 rooms in the Citywest complex, only 2,443 patients were ever admitted for self-isolation over the 11 months and at times, the occupancy rate was as low as 26 patients.
“Considering the low occupancy rate, why was the complex not used for nursing home patients or for those in Direct Provision centres? Why did we spend €25 million on a hotel to leave it practically empty?
“Citywest is being used as a testing and vaccination centre but this feels like a lame justification, given the size of other venues in comparison to Citywest.
“The lack of joined up thinking by the HSE is once again apparent. They had a huge facility with over a thousand rooms that they spent millions renting and no one thought to do anything with it. There are still serious questions to be answered about the appropriate use of taxpayers’ hard earned money.”