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Dublin: 12°C Monday 8 August 2022

Staff 'weeping' over plans to temporarily rehouse Seanad in wing of National Museum

Refurbishment of the Seanad is expected to take two years.

STAFF AT THE National Museum of Ireland in Dublin are unhappy with plans to temporarily rehouse the Seanad in a wing of the museum during refurbishment work.

Refurbishment at the Seanad could take up to two years and during that time, senators will make use of the ceramics room in the museum’s Kildare street building, which is used for educational purposes.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, former director of the National Museum of Ireland, Pat Wallace, said this means the “programme of education will have to terminate, staff will have to be accommodated elsewhere in the building”.

“I have met three senior, highly qualified post-graduate qualifications [sic] curators weeping,” he said.

He said he was against “the idea of violating a space that belonged to the national museum since 1890, the old British days”.

seanadSenator Paul Coghlan of Fine Gael addresses the Seanad chamberSource: Screengrab/Oireachtas

Wallace said he saw the decision as part of a plan to undermine the museum, "to diminish it and reduce its area and its importance in that area of Dublin".

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He conceded he was being "precious" about the issue, but said this was "based on 40 years loyalty and love of the national museum and what it stands for in the cultural life of the nation".

A spokesperson for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said additional funding is being made available to provide alternative accommodation within the museum for its education programme and for the installation of a new lift.

"Minister Humphreys has been working with the chair of the NMI for a number of months on this matter to ensure that any concerns are addressed and indeed to ensure there would be long term benefits for the Museum as a result of this project," they said.

On top of this, as part of last week’s Budget, the Minister announced an additional €650,000 in annual funding for the museum. The Chair of the Board of the National Museum has thanked the Minister for her advocacy on behalf of the Museum on this issue.

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