The future of the Science Gallery

In Blog by Denis Naughten

Last Tuesday, I raised the issue of the future of the Science Gallery with An Taoiseach in Dáil Éireann pointing out that its closure would undermine our strategy as a country to position itself as a world leader in science & technology.

In response, An Taoiseach Micheal Martin TD pointed out that the Government has offered to fund the facility “for several years” and is awaiting a submission from Trinity College, Dublin.

On Thursday evening I received a Dáil replies from Ministers Catherine Martin TD and Simon Harris TD. (see below)

Minister Martin stated that the Department of Higher and Further Education, Research, Innovation, and Science is leading the Government engagement with the Provost and management at Trinity College Dublin.

Minister Harris replied stating that while public funding continues to be available to support TCD’s public promotion of science, it has been made clear that the current model for the Science Gallery is financially unsustainable.

It seems that despite the reassurances of An Taoiseach regarding funding for the Science Gallery, funding in whatever form will only be provided following a new proposal from Trinity College for a “re-imagined” public promotion of science.

Since the Science Gallery first opened its doors it has gone international with offshoots in Atlanta, Bengaluru, Berlin, Detroit, London, Melbourne, and Rotterdam. So, it’s hard to believe that if the model is so successful internationally, why it cannot work here in Ireland?

I believe that its closure today is short-sighted, and I have tabled questions to Minister Harris on this issue when he comes before the Dáil next week to answer oral parliamentary questions.

 

 

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For Written Answer on : 27/01/2022
Question Number(s)301 Question Reference(s): 4140/22
Department: Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
Asked by: Denis Naughten T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Further and Higher Education; Research; Innovation and Science if he will outline his discussions to date to secure the continued operation of the Science Gallery at Trinity College, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

Since it opened in 2008, the Science Gallery has been a popular visitor attraction and strengthened the appreciation of science especially among young people. My Department and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media remain in contact with the Provost and management at Trinity College Dublin since TCD’s initial announcement regarding the Science Gallery.

TCD has made clear that the current model for the Science Gallery is financially unsustainable due to changes in the philanthropic funding environment, which if left unaddressed, would have left the College exposed to significant ongoing financial liabilities.

Public funding continues to be available to support a sustainable model for TCD’s public promotion of science. I understand that TCD intends to consult on how their commitment to the public promotion of science might be re-imagined in the future. The Government has indicated that it is willing to engage with Trinity including in relation to funding on the basis of any proposals it brings forward.

 

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 27/01/2022
Question Number(s): 193 Question Reference(s): 4141/22
Department: Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Asked by: Denis Naughten T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media if she will outline her discussions to date to secure the continued operation of the Science Gallery at Trinity College, Dublin; her discussions with Fáilte Ireland on funding for the gallery; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

The Department of Higher and Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science is leading the Government engagement with the Provost and management at Trinity College Dublin since the decision to close the Science Gallery.   I understand that Trinity College Dublin intends to consult on how the Science Gallery might be re-imagined in the future.  My Department will continue to engage on any new initiative.