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Gardai monitoring Russian embassy after reports of construction during coronavirus restrictions

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Russian embassy Dublin

Russian embassy Dublin

PA Archive/PA Images

Russian embassy Dublin

Gardai are monitoring the Embassy of Russia in Dublin after receiving reports of construction work being carried out during the coronavirus lockdown.

The embassy has being constructing a controversial new consular building on its grounds in South County Dublin.

The Government banned construction work as part of its clamp down on non-essential activities during the coronavirus emergency.

Last week, An Garda Siochana confirmed they received complaints about work continuing on at embassy’s new building despite the lockdown.

“After receiving reports of non-essential work taking place at a construction site on Orwell Road, An Garda Síochána have being monitoring the site,” a garda spokesperson said.

“No activities have been noted to have taken place since 6pm on 30th March, when the Government shutdown of non-essential construction sites commenced,” he added.

The embassy said “generally speaking” construction work stopped at their compound but said necessary technological work did continue.

“The Embassy fully respects all measures introduced by the Irish Government under current Covid-19 conditions,” a spokesperson said.

“Generally speaking, the construction of the Consular building has been halted. There is, though, a small amount of technologically necessary work – which is clearly deemed essential – and has to be completed.

“It is done by the Russian workers with all necessary precautions and social distancing. Furthermore, they live at the Embassy’s compound (which has been COVID-free up to now) and comply with all restrictions introduced by authorities,” she added.

The Embassy sparked controversy two years ago when it emerged it planned to quadruple the size of its premises in Dublin. Construction on a substantial new building to the front of the compound was nearing completion last week.

However, there were no sign of workers on the site when it was visited by Independent.ie.

When claims of the embassy increasing its spying capabilities emerged two years ago, Russian Ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov hosted a tour of the premises for the media.

Ireland expelled a Russian diplomat in the aftermath of the poising of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK.

Online Editors