IT may well be Ireland's most luxurious office, another poignant memory of this once well-heeled government's unparalleled capacity to spend.
Figures released by the Office of Public Works (OPW) have now revealed that it actually cost more than €100,000 to renovate a small office belonging to the Ceann Comhairle.
The €58,712 cost of redecorating toilets for the use of Fianna Fáil's John O'Donoghue was not the only cost incurred by the OPW as part of their refurbishment programme.
In fact, the Ceann Comhairle's chambers may now well be the most luxurious room in the nation if the rate of spending is anything to go by.
To complement the new toilet facilities, the office was also fitted out with new carpets, curtains and a brand new €1,000 chair. The carpets, supplied by Rugs by Design, were ordered in two batches: the first costing €15,367 and the second setting the taxpayer back €14,367. Curtains fitted on the Ceann Comhairle's windows were similarly magnificent, and cost €11,380, bought from a firm called Gleeson Interiors. The coup-the-grace was the office chair supplied by the firm Ergonomics for the princely sum of €1,058.
The Sunday Tribune sought pictures and architectural drawings of the Ceann Comhairle's new facilities but the OPW declined to release them. Dermot O'Brien of the Property Maintenance Section said: "I regret to inform you that your request for information in this case in respect [of] architectural drawings, photographs, plans etc are refused. I am satisfied that ... such information could prejudice or impair the security of a building or 'lawful methods, systems, plans or procedures for ensuring the safety of the public and the safety or security of persons and property'."
The OPW said the refurbishment was also approved in 2007 and was now completed. A statement said: "The total cost of refurbishment was €58,712.41 inclusive of Vat. The project cost included for major structural repairs to a wall adjacent to the Ceann Comhairle's Office that was deemed necessary to repair. The toilet facilities in this case are also available to Dáil staff who are situated in offices in that locality. The Office of the Ceann Comhairle is also painted by our own OPW Building Maintenance Service Crew from time to time as part of an ongoing maintenance programme for the entire Houses of the Oireachtas."
This statement does not take into account the extra expenditure on O'Donoghue's offices.
Nearly €3m has been spent in the past two years renovating facilities at Leinster House including the Dáil bar, broadcasting suites and various rooms. The OPW said that €935,845 was spent on a major fire safety upgrade and an overhaul of the bar, a further €295,340 on refurbishment of studios and €6,703 on the Kildare House crèche. The most expensive project was the construction of An Siopa, a charity newsagents inside Leinster House that cost €978,662.
A spokesman said: "Leinster House was a family home originally and has slowly been turned into a working office building. It's more than 200 years old and that adds to the cost of maintaining it."