Saturday 20 January 2018

Increase in trade with Ireland sees Chinese boost embassy

Chinese Embassy. Photo: Tony Gavin
Chinese Embassy. Photo: Tony Gavin
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

IT may be on the way to becoming the world's biggest economy, but the People's Republic of China still has to deal with Dublin City Council en route.

The local authority has just asked for additional information about plans to expand the existing Chinese Embassy on Ailesbury Road.

The Chinese Embassy bought number 38 on the street in 2012 from Arthur Cox chairman Eugene McCague for an undisclosed amount, but certainly over €2m.

The Chinese want to join number 38 to the existing embassy at number 40. They say the additional building won't be open to the public, and will only provide for embassy, consular and state business.

"Recent years have seen a strengthening of relations and increased economic activity and trade between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Ireland," the Chinese diplomatic mission's planning consultants told the council. "The embassy anticipates a need for increased facilities to carry out embassy, consular and state business."

China, whose ambassador to Ireland is Luo Linquan, already has three non-public embassy offices in the area, including 40 Ailesbury Road, which houses the ambassador's office, and political and administrative office.

At 77 Ailesbury Road, China has its economic and commercial counsellor's office, while at number 26 it has its culture, science and technology sections. The diplomatic mission's only public office in Dublin is at Merrion Road, where it deals with education and visas.

Some Ailesbury Road residents have objected to the planned expansion of the embassy. Kathy Smurfit, wife of Michael Smurfit Jnr, contacted the council as the honorary secretary of the Ailesbury Road Residents' Association. The association has been receptive to the embassy plans.

But the council has requested additional information, and wants Chinese officials to confirm the number of staff it will have, as well as details of any events or receptions that will be held at the embassy.

Irish Independent

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