US embassy security plan will go ahead
A MOVE by the US government to increase security at its Ballsbridge embassy has been given the green light, despite local concerns.
The development will see the compound's 1.8-metre-high Victorian railings being replaced by more modern barriers rising to almost three metres.
But the approval from An Bord Pleanala came despite a swell of opposition from residents in the Dublin 4 suburb.
Further alterations to the site will include the installation of metre-high stainless steel bollards in the public entrance forecourt, new pedestrian entrances onto Pembroke Road and Elgin Road and a guard booth beside the vehicle gates on Elgin Road.
The application was made by the US government.
An Taisce, the Shelbourne Road Residents Group and the Upper Leeson Street Area Residents Association had objected to the plan, as had several individual residents.
"The embassy building is one of the most noteworthy 20th century architectural designs in Ireland and as stated in the planning application the only round US embassy building," the Leeson Street group stated.
It argued the proposed changes would "further obscure the architecture and would be visually out of keeping with the neighbourhood".
The group added: "The effect would further the impression that the property is simply a steel fortress rather than a pleasing architectural addition to Ballsbridge."
But An Bord Pleanala sided with the US government, which argued that the new railings would provide greater security for its staff and also be more in keeping with the style of the building.
The increase in height will mean the barriers conform to the US Department of State perimeter security criteria for American buildings abroad, the board was told.
In her report, Bord Pleanala inspector Patricia M Young acknowledged the "times we are living in have dramatically changed since the completion of the US Embassy building back in 1964".