Green light for enlarged Jewish museum in Dublin

Plans for an enlarged Jewish museum in Dublin’s Portobello have been given the go-ahead by An Bord Pleanála.

The scheme had the personal backing of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, but was opposed by many local residents.

The Irish Jewish Museum had sought permission to demolish five houses, including the old synagogue on Walworth Street in Portobello, which was once the heart of Dublin’s Jewish community.

The board of the museum said it needed more space to accommodate exhibits and to qualify for proper accreditation.

But local residents were concerned, particularly about the plan to excavate six metres into the ground, fearing this could destabilise surrounding homes.

They were also concerned about traffic congestion with visitor numbers projected to increase from 10,000 to 50,000 a year.

But in its ruling An Bord Pleanála allowed the development, pointing to the historic connections of the existing museum and old synagogue to the site.

It also ruled the plan would not seriously injure the residential amenities.

One of the conditions includes the reinstatement of the original synagogue interior.

The Irish Jewish Museum said in a statement that it is very pleased with the decision.

Board member Edwin Alkin stated that the plans are necessary for the expansion of the museum whose mission is to be an educational centre and beacon for tolerance.

His statement pointed out that the concerns expressed by residents had been addressed by both Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála.

Mr Alkin added that the museum’s management believes the current plan with benefit the cultural life of the city and the neighbourhood of Portobello.

And that the museum wishes to renew and maintain its good relationship with the local community.