Country’s first private security vault unveiled

It is the kind of joint that could be cased by Love/Hate crime boss Nidge and his gang or used as location for a bank heist movie.

However, the promoters of Ireland’s first private security vault hope it will have a much more sedate existence, in keeping with the discreet and secure reputation traditionally associated with the banking industry.

The new, hi-tech storage facility, Sentinel Vaults, opens today on Dublin’s Waterloo Rd.

The business aims to attract not only high net worth individuals with valuable items requiring safekeeping, but also companies looking for a secure location to store important documents.

Managing director, Billy Finn, claimed his company was responding to a growing demand for such a facility as the retail banks had largely stopped providing such a service to new customers.

He said such facilities are common across Europe, with 25 centres located in London alone.

Mr Finn, a former senior banker with AIB, predicted the service would prove popular with solicitors’ firms anxious to safeguard deeds, wills, and other important documents from risks such as theft, flood, or fire.

Other potential customers include apartment dwellers and foreign nationals working on short- term contracts who may not have secure facilities in their homes.

The storage of the 2,500 safety deposit boxes of varying sizes is in a former bank vault that has been equipped with the latest security technology.

Sentinel clients will need to go through six security measures, including a biometric machine which checks their fingerprints before they gain access to the vault. The building is also monitored on CCTV by off-site security personnel who have the ability to lockdown the vault in the event of a serious incident.

Mr Finn said there is only one entrance into the vaults, which are encased by 1m thick walls.

The standard contract is for 12 months with charges ranging from €299 per year for the smallest security box up to €1,149 for the largest holder. Shorter-term contract for three and six months are also available.

To guard against being used by criminals, clients are obliged, under the firm’s terms and conditions, to prove that they are not involved in prohibited activities.

While some potential customers might hesitate at being seen to use such a facility out of fear of being targeted by criminals, Mr Finn countered that, in many cases, the vault will be used by those whose contents are “worthless to others”.

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