TAXPAYERS have footed an astonishing €50,000 bill to clean the space between double-glazed windows on a single government building.
The cash was budgeted by the Department of Social Protection to carry out cleaning works on the windows of its headquarters in Dublin city.
Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the sum was used to hire contractors to clean the small recess between the double glazed windows.
And the Herald understands that not all window aisles were cleaned as some of them cannot not be accessed by department officials.
The Department claims that work of this nature has not been carried out for eight years and that the funding was found "following a realignment of window cleaning services and costs". Emerald Facility Services undertook the work after winning a competitive tender process to provide window cleaning services for the Department.
However, the cost of the work has caused dismay among opposition TDs.
Fianna Fail public expenditure spokesperson Sean Fleming told the Herald: "I'm flabbergasted as to why such a significant amount of money would be spent on something like this.
"It doesn't make sense at all and unless it is being done to improve the double glazing, well then it's hopeless.
"You cannot blame the public for feeling furious when they come across spending like this."
And Independent TD for Dublin North Central Finian McGrath labelled the costs "scandalous".
"At a time when pensioners are being stripped to the bones, seeing these kinds of amounts being flung around on areas that will have little or no benefit to the public is scandalous.
"Nothing seems to be past this Government in terms of pure wastage of public money. It's simply not acceptable."
In a statement to the Herald, a department official said: "The work in question comprises the cleaning of the inner windows and the blinds and voids in the internal windows in this building. It is about eight years since these works were last carried out.
"In addition, the windows themselves are old and the air-conditioning system impacts on the structure.
"The possibility of carrying out these works had been deferred for some time, principally because of lack of funding," the statement added.