herald

Friday 19 October 2018

US embassy hunts for bigger site

THE US embassy could move north of the capital -- but not for another 10 years at least.

Ballymun has been mooted as a possible location for the embassy, which has outgrown its Ballsbridge building.

The distinctive building in Ballsbridge, which houses approximately 130 staff, is too small to cater for the needs of the establishment and alternative sites are being looked at.

Sheila Paskman, a public affairs officer at the embassy, told the Herald that Ballymun and James's Street were on the embassy's list of alternative sites for the building.

"We went and looked at large sites but there's no commitment yet. When it's time, Washington will send out a whole crew to Ballymun."

"We've about 30 Americans working here and 100 local staff," she added.

Land close to IKEA and a site close to the Guinness brewery in St James's Gate have been earmarked as two out of 10 possible sites for the embassy's re-location.

"We looked at a number of sites for Washington to evaluate which ones might be suitable for a new building."

"The Ambassador Thomas C Foley decided that we need a new embassy and gave his reasons to Washington as to why."

Ms Paskman estimates that Washington officials will find the building unsuitable when they do their evaluation.

Meanwhile, Councillor Ray Corcoran from Ballymun said the American embassy would lift the profile of the area.

"It's an ideal location, it's very close to the airport. It's close to the M50, it's relatively close to town and there'll be lots of facilities when the whole thing is finished. The metro will be close to Ballymun as well."

Ms Paskman added: "We happen to be number 79 on a list of 80 embassies that are going to be rebuilt". So it seems that relocation is far from imminent.

hnews@herald.ie

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