Friday 28 October 2016

Taxpayers' €900k bill over Dead Zoo staircase collapse

The Dead Zoo - Dublin's Natural History Museum
The Dead Zoo - Dublin's Natural History Museum

The bill to the taxpayer in making payouts to visitors who were injured when a staircase collapsed in the so-called 'Dead Zoo' is set to top €905,000.

To date, the National Museum of Ireland has paid out €505,402 to people who were injured in the 2007 incident at the Natural History Museum.

Now, in its latest published accounts, the loss-making National Museum has stated that a further €402,563 is committed to settling future claims arising from the incident.

This will bring the total pay-out to €907,965.

In the incident, a stone staircase in the building collapsed, injuring 11 people from a group of primary school teachers attending a science appreciation course.

The Natural History museum was closed, and €450,000 was spent before it re-opened in 2009.

The newly published accounts show that losses at the National Museum almost tripled, going from €209,748 to €586,300 in 2013, as funding from the State declined by €1.2m.


However, the National Museum won't have to shoulder the estimated €907,965 burden from the stairway collapse, after reaching a deal with the Department of the Arts and Heritage, which has agreed to foot the bill.

According to a note attached to its 2013 accounts, the board of the National Museum states that the liability for all current and future claims in respect of the structural defects which led to the collapse of the staircase "lies with the Commissioners for Public Works, as agents for the State".

It also states: "The Board insists that no legal liability attaches to it in respect of the personal injuries cases."

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