The cost of renting the Citywest Hotel in Dublin for Covid-19 use is likely to reach €21 million, the Health Service Executive has told RTÉ Investigates.

Under the terms of a contract signed on March 26th and seen by RTÉ, the HSE is obliged to rent the Citywest Hotel and Convention Centre for a minimum of 210 days, until October 22nd.

The HSE has said it is currently considering whether to end the lease. However, it cannot do so before next Wednesday, which is 90 days into the lease. And if it does decide to terminate, it must give 120 days notice to the owner, Tetrarch Capital.

The HSE leased the Citywest Hotel and Convention Centre - with combined capacity for 1700 beds - to use as self-isolation and step-down facilities for people suffering or recovering from Covid-19. But because the worst-case pandemic scenario never materialised the facility has been underused.The HSE said that as of today there were 63 residents and that since the facility opened on April 1st there have been 608 admissions.

If the HSE decides to terminate the lease it says the cost will come to €20.995 million for the seven months. The fee is different to that previously reported, partly because VAT of 23% is not now being applied to the licence agreement between Tetrarch and the HSE.

The HSE also suggested that its bill may be reduced by a further €476,000 if the facilities are deemed exempt from commercial rates.  

While it is not likely to happen, the HSE has the option to extend the lease until the end of 2020.