Office of Public Works

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Office of Public Works
State Agency of the Department of Finance overview
Formed 15 October 1831; 184 years ago (1831-10-15)
Jurisdiction Ireland
Headquarters Jonathan Swift Street, Trim, County Meath
Minister responsible
State Agency of the Department of Finance executive
  • Claire McGrath, Chairman
Key document
  • Extension and Promotion of Public Works in Ireland Act, 1831
Website OPW website

The Office of Public Works (OPW; Irish: Oifig na nOibreacha Poiblí) (legally the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland, though the full title is rarely used) is a State Agency of the Department of Finance in Ireland. Its chief responsibility is the ownership, upkeep, and maintenance of Government of Ireland and historic buildings in Ireland.


The agency also provides election, procurement and printing services for government. The office also historically had responsibility for drainage schemes and other large civil and public engineering projects. The office is in charge of the Government Supplies Agency which issues the Irish Statute Book and in particular the Iris Oifigiúil magazine.


The office was created on 15 October 1831, and was initially known as the Board of Works. It was formed out of the merger of the Office of the Surveyor-General for Ireland, the Barracks Board, and Navigation Board.[1] The OPW had responsibility for the majority of heritage sites in Ireland prior to 1996. In 1996 the management of most of these sites was transferred to a separate agency, Dúchas - The Heritage Service, which adopted a stylised version of the traditional OPW logo, with the OPW changing its logo to match its new focus on its buildings and maintenance functions. In 2003 Dúchas was wound up and most of its functions are now operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).[2] Functions not transferred to NPWS reverted to being OPW functions, which mainly relate to built heritage sites; these functions are operated under the title of "Heritage Ireland".[3]


The Minister for Finance has overall responsibility for the organisation. The organisation is unique in the Irish public sector, in that it is the only body other than a Department of State with a specific minister with responsibility for it, the Minister of State at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (currently Brian Hayes TD). The Commissioners comprise a Chairman and two other Commissioners. The staff of the organisation comprise part of the Civil Service of the State.

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