Sunday 20 April 2014

Dublin residents' despair as go-ahead given for enlarged Jewish Museum

The Irish Jewish Musuem requested permission to demolish five houses, including the old synagogue on Walworth Street, Dublin. (Photo: Facebook/Save The Streets of Portobello)

Plans for an enlarged Jewish museum in Dublin’s Portobello have been given the go-ahead by An Bord Pleanala, despite opposition by many local residents.

The Irish Jewish Musuem requested permission to demolish five houses, including the old synagogue on Walworth Road, Dublin.

The museum’s plan, which had the personal backing of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, will use the space to accommodate exhibits and to qualify for proper accreditation.

Local residents had expressed concern about traffic congestion in the area as the museum’s visitor numbers are projected to increase five-fold to 50,000 a year.

Residents of Walworth Road and the surrounding areas have also expressed fears of building work destabilising their own homes.

The Facebook page ‘Save the streets of Portobello’ wrote this morning;

“This morning the residents of Portobello received the terrible news that An Bord Pleanala have consented to allow the Irish Jewish Museum to demolish our street.

“We are devastated.

“The inspectors report is due on Thursday, we will keep you updated.”

Local resident Adrian Kenny said the community have always supported the museum.

"We have all supported the museum throughout the years," he told RTÉ this evening.

"We've given gifts and donated money, but this plan will knock down a whole terrace of houses, this will look like the entrance to a Tesco Express."

Residents also said they're baffled the plans got the go-ahead, saying many experts have called the scheme 'totally flawed'.

Labour TD Kevin Humphries described the plans as a "commercialisation of a terraced street."

An Bord Pleanala have ruled that the plan will not injure the residential amenities and one of the conditions includes the reinstatement of the original synagogue interior.

The Irish Jewish Museum have said in a statement that they are very pleased with the decision with board member Edwin Alkin stating that the plans are necessary for the museum to become an ‘educational centre and beacon for tolerance.”

They also said they wish to maintain a good relationship with the local community.

Denise Calnan

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