The Office of Public Works (OPW) is to lodge planning permission next month to demolish the current headquarters of the Department of Health.

RTÉ News has learned the plan, which would cost around €50m, would see a new building constructed on the same site.

The building was constructed in 1962 and is currently home to the Department of Health. Hawkins House is regarded by many as one of the least attractive buildings in the capital.

Now the OPW has drawn up a plan which means the existing building would be demolished and replaced by a larger one.

The square footage of the new build would be increased by 50%, it would be around the same height and would cost approximately €50m.

The OPW said in the long run the decision to demolish and rebuild will be worth it - as money would be saved elsewhere on lease agreements.

It is planned that the 400 staff currently in the Department of Health will be moved to the former Bank of Ireland headquarters on Baggot Street.

It is envisaged that another government department would move into the new building.

Planning permission is to be lodged with the council next month and that process could take up to a year. The project must also get government approval.