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Now taxpayers are shelling out for new railings at the Dail

LEINSTER House is to get a new set of gates and decorative railings at massive cost to the Irish taxpayer.

The spending comes at a time when the country is one of the poorest in Europe, and follows details in the Herald this week of a €9m revamp at taxpayers' expense.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has applied for permission to erect new gates and railings to "improve security measures".

The news comes after the Herald revealed yesterday how €628,000 paint job in 2008, almost €100,000 upgrading two toilets and €61,000 shelled out to Waterford Crystal.


This is on top of a €1m shop and a restaurant revamp of almost more than €1.18m for the restaurant and €226,000 for a "coffee dock".

In an application lodged with Dublin City Council, the OPW now proposes to install "a new railing and set of gates on the Merrion Street side of Leinster House, controlling pedestrian access to, and exit from, Leinster Lawn".

No figure was put on the cost of the new structure.

The building is a protected structure and any changes must first be approved by planners.

A spokeswoman for the OPW told the Herald: "The Merrion Street entrance provides both pedestrian and vehicular access to Leinster House via Leinster Lawn. Vehicular access is controlled by means of a security barrier operated by the Usher positioned at the gate.

"The area is distinguished from the pedestrian zone by means of a low level, decorative railing."

She added: "At present there is no barrier or gate system in place to control pedestrian access."

The public will have an opportunity to object to the plan, though complaints based on the project's cost will be not be considered relevant.

Planners only have to consider whether or not the new installations are in keeping with the structure and what impacts they will have on the surrounding area.

The OPW did not provide an estimated cost for the works when requested by the Herald, but the spokeswoman said: "All work will be carried out in-house with ironmongery being manufactured at our workshops in Inchicore.

"And the installation will be carried out by Building Maintenance Services."

The works follow the hugely controversial restoration of the lawn at the back entrance to Leinster House.