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Senators to move back to their old digs as Ceramics Room to be returned to the National Museum

The refurbishment of Leinster House is set to cost in the region of €17 million.

The Ceramics Room, which has housed the Seanad while Leinster House has been undergoing refurbishment.
The Ceramics Room, which has housed the Seanad while Leinster House has been undergoing refurbishment.
Image: SAM BOAL

THE CERAMICS ROOM, which has been used to house the Seanad while Leinster House has been getting a face-lift, is to be returned to the National Museum of Ireland “in the coming weeks”.

An agreement between the Houses of the Oireachtas and the National Museum to temporarily relocate the chamber of Seanad Éireann to the Ceramics Room was agreed in 2016.

As part of the deal, €500,000 was paid to install a lift in the museum, with other costs relating to securing doors also being incurred by the Oireachtas.

The Office of Public Works, which is handling the renovations, said the handover of the building to the Houses of the Oireachtas will take place during August and confirmed the works will be completed in time for the return of the Dáil and the Seanad in September.

Leinster House, which is 272 years old, began a major programme of restoration three years ago. 

It included the refurbishment of the historic windows, window shutters and other internal joinery items, as well as stone repairs both internally and externally.

Last month, it was revealed that the revamp of Leinster House is set to cost in the region of €17 million, somewhat more than the projected cost of €8 million. 

The estimate included the relocation of the Seanad to the Ceramics Room of the National Museum, which senators have made their home in. 

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While some senators might be reluctant to leave their newly kitted-out chamber, a statement from the National Museum of Ireland said:

Access to the Ceramics Room will revert to the National Museum of Ireland following completion of the restoration of Leinster House. The exact date of the handover has not yet been confirmed and will be dependent on final works.

There is no option for the Oireachtas to hold on to the room for its own use, with the National Museum stating that it “is currently finalising its programme of activities for early 2020, which includes events that will utilise the Ceramics Room”.

The politicians will have to move back to their old digs come September, with the Oireachtas confirming that the Ceramics Room will return to the National Museum of Ireland in the coming weeks.

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