€500,000 for injuries in museum stair collapse
THE National Museum has paid more than €500,000 to visitors who were injured when a staircase collapsed in the so-called Dead Zoo.
And the final bill could exceed €800,000 as three claims have still have to be settled.
The escalating cost of the incident in the Natural History Museum in Dublin's Merrion Street in 2007 has been revealed in its latest published annual accounts.
A stone staircase in the building collapsed, injuring 11 people from a group of primary school teachers attending a science appreciation course.
The museum was closed, and €450,000 was spent before it re-opened in 2009.
According to the National Museum's latest financial statement, it has set aside more than €300,000 to cover three outstanding personal injury claims. It has already paid €505,972 in compensation.
The Natural History Museum attracts nearly 300,000 visitors a year to its famous stuffed animals, hence its nickname.
However, it continues to suffer a shortage of funds to upgrade its facilities.
The second and third floor balconies remain closed as they need fire exits installed. Major work is needed on the roof, and the tiles on the ground floor need to be re-laid.
In its annual report, the National Museum said it recognised these limitations, and "continues to press for the necessary funding to resolve these issues on behalf of our visiting public".
The National Museum has only managed to publish its annual report for 2011 now.
It shows that board members were paid more than €100,000 in fees for attending eight meetings and several committee meetings in the year.
One of the highest-paid board members was former Fianna Fail minister Gerry Collins, who received €9,533 in fees and expenses.
Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan is planning to merge the boards of the National Museum, the National Archives and the National Library to save money.
He is also going to provide human resources services for all three from his own Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.