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Cash-strapped museums may start charging


National Museum

National Museum

National Museum

THE museum group that houses Ireland's historical treasures from the Ardagh Chalice to guns from the 1916 Rising needs an extra €650,000 if it is to maintain existing services.

The National Museum of Ireland is considering cost-saving proposals including charging for admittance and closing some of its locations.

The museum has branches in Kildare Street, Collins Barracks and the Country Life Museum in Co Mayo and also runs the Natural History museum.


Between them, the four sites attract more than one million visitors a year who get to see artifacts from Viking weapons to stuffed animals free of charge.

Following a report that it will have to start charging visitors, the museum confirmed it has a shortfall in funding for next year.

"The Board of the National Museum of Ireland is considering a number of options to address serious funding challenges which the Museum will face in 2015," a statement said.

While the Government has allocated the National Museum the same funding levels for next year as it got this year - just under €11.4m - bosses say it is not enough to maintain services.

They outlined a series of cuts in funding and staff faced by the museums despite a rise in visitor numbers.

"Since 2008, the number of visitors to the museums has increased by 35pc to a total of 1,071,193," the statement said.

"In the same period, exchequer funding has reduced from €19m in 2008 to €11.4m received in 2014 - a 40pc reduction.

"Staff levels have been reduced from 210 in 2008 to 145 currently - a reduction of 31pc."

"An increase in funding of €650,000 in 2015 was required in order to maintain services at existing minimal levels, along with certain assurances regarding liabilities."

The board of the museum is engaging with Arts Minister Heather Humphreys to "find solutions to the funding issues", the statement added.