Trinity and Government officials meet over Science Gallery

University board decides tomorrow on whether to press ahead with closure

Representatives from Trinity College and Government officials met on Tuesday to see if a proposal can be worked out that could save the Science Gallery on Pearse Street from closing.

It is understood that the board of Trinity will meet tomorrow to decide if the talks should progress further or if the university should press ahead with its plan to close the popular gallery.

Trinity is believed to have met officials from the Department for Further and Higher Education, led by Simon Harris, and the Department of Arts, which provides funding annually to the gallery and is led by Catherine Martin.

Minister Harris’s department is believed to be taking the lead in the talks, which were described as positive. A spokeswoman at his Department told The Irish Times that it “continues to engage with Government colleagues and Trinity College on this matter”.


No comment was available from the university.

If the Trinity board gives the green light to further talks, it is hoped a framework agreement on funding might be agreed between the Government and the university in the coming weeks.

Financial issues

Last week it emerged that Trinity planned to close the gallery due to financial issues, with staff informed of the decision. This led to an outcry, both from within the university and from members of the arts, technology and science communities.

In a tweet on Friday, Trinity provost Linda Doyle said she had “just had a really productive call with @SimonHarrisTD and we both agreed to sit down together next week, with other departments and stakeholders, to discuss the future of” the gallery.

A statement issued to The Irish Times by the Department of Arts said: “The Science Gallery project was located in and operated under the auspices of TCD, the primary partner and supporter. The Department has supported the Science Gallery since its establishment and, in recent years, annual funding has typically been €280,000.

“The decision of the college authorities to close the Science Gallery in February, 2022 was notified to the Department, shortly before the public announcement.” It added that the Department was open to participating in any discussions on its future.

Trinity’s financial statements for the year to the end of September 2020 show the gallery earned income of €552,000, down from €592,000 a year earlier.


The Trinity gallery reopened from lockdown restrictions with an exhibition called Bias, which opened on October 22nd. It is described as an “interactive, thought-provoking exploration of preferences, prejudices and digital equity” and is due to run until February 28th.

First opened in 2008, the Science Gallery is described on its website as a “living experiment” that “ignites creativity and discovery where science and art collide” and encourages young people to learn through their interests. A team of 16 employees is listed on the website, led by acting director Gerard McHugh.

Reacting to news of the gallery’s closure, its first chairman Chris Horn, an Irish Times columnist, expressed his “extreme disappointment” at the decision. In a post on Twitter, another early contributor, Prof Aoife McLysaght, said closing the gallery was an “awful mistake”.

Dr Patrick Prendergast, who is chairman of Science Gallery International, an offshoot of the Trinity gallery involving seven other universities – in Atlanta, Bengaluru, Berlin, Detroit, London, Melbourne and Rotterdam – said the closure would be a “terrible loss” to Dublin.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times