No. 232 NAI DE 5/19

George Gavan Duffy to Michael Collins (Personal)

Dublin, 31 January 1922

Ely House.

A Chara,
Before bringing this matter before the Cabinet I should like if possible to have your consent to the proposal.

Through an old friend who was the confidential secretary to the late W. M. Murphy I have today had an opportunity of visiting Ely House in Ely Place, and was shown over it by Lady Aberdeen.

The house is to be let unfurnished, and I understand Lady Aberdeen has a lease of 30 years unexpired, for the whole of which or less if preferred she would be willing to let the house.

She pays an annual ground rent of £120
She claims to have spent £2,000 on the house interest on which would be say £120
allowing her a profit rental of £60
the annual rent for the term would be £300

Rates and Taxes would be exclusive, as the Government would presumably be exempted by the Corporation and would make some special arrangement for its contribution generally in respect of Government property for water, paving and so on. I understand the present rates and taxes come to £120.

The house is a beautiful Georgian house, thoroughly suitable for a Government Office at which foreigners have to be received, and it is central. Whether under a future change of Government it remains a Foreign Office or be used for some other Governmental purpose, it is, I think, a house which it would be eminently desirable to acquire for the Government, and it seems to me that it is offered cheap. It has four storeys and ample accommodation.

I should like to have your personal consent, before carrying the matter further, to taking up this proposal, and I should be grateful if you could let me hear from you as soon as possible.

You will remember at the last Cabinet meeting I was authorised to take the house No. 33 Stephen's Green, two doors from the Shelbourne, at £300 a year, including taxes, but the present offer seems to me altogether a very much more desirable one and I should like to be able to close with it.

Le meas,
George Gavan Duffy

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