Jones Engineering's chairman and his wife donate €30m to Trinity College Dublin

Eric Kinsella and wife Barbara make largest single philanthropic donation in Ireland

Eric and Barbara Kinsella have already previously provided funding for the Kinsella Hall study facility in the Ussher Library. Photograph: The Irish Times

Eric and Barbara Kinsella have already previously provided funding for the Kinsella Hall study facility in the Ussher Library. Photograph: The Irish Times

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Jones Engineering's chairman Eric Kinsella and his wife Barbara, have made what is believed to be the largest single philanthropic donation from individuals in the history of the State with a €30 million donation to Trinity College Dublin.

The donation is to be used for Trinity East, a new €1 billion 5½ acre campus, which is to be based in the docklands area of Dublin. It surpasses the €25 million provided by radiator tycoon Martin Naughton and his family in 2018 towards the establishment of the E3 Institute, which is located on the existing campus.

The new institute will serve as a venue for large-scale research programmes in engineering, environment and emerging technologies.

It is the first new campus proposed by Trinity College Dublin in its 429-year history and will be modelled on innovation districts such as Cambridge Square in Boston and similar districts in cities such as Toronto, Rotterdam and Barcelona.

“Barbara and I are delighted to support a project of such national significance. The new Trinity East campus will be a highly efficient investment in the social and economic future of our country,” said Mr Kinsella.

“It will increase the prestige of our education and science sector internationally, will deliver research outputs in areas critical for future of our planet and will enable Trinity to expand its student body, giving new opportunities to young people throughout Ireland. We are confident this project will benefit generations for decades to come,” he added.

Engineering scholarships

Mr Kinsella, an alumnus of Trinity and his wife have already previously provided funding for the Kinsella Hall study facility in Ussher Library, as well as a programme of engineering scholarships for talented students.

Jones Engineering focuses on large-scale infrastructure projects in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, IT and data-centre industries. It generates about half of its revenues from overseas.

Mr Kinsella is the company's majority shareholder and executive chairman. The group, which employs 2,000 people, recorded revenues of €500 million in 2019, the last year for which accounts are available.

Mr Kinsella is also founder of Espirt Investments, an investment and property development company and SARL Esprit du Midi, a French sister firm.

Patriotism

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said the Kinsella’s philanthropic donation to Trinity College was “an act of patriotism” for which he thanked them on behalf of the nation.

Trinity College Dublin is planning a new campus at Grand Canal Quay. Photograph: TCD
Trinity College Dublin is planning a new campus at Grand Canal Quay. Photograph: TCD

“With foresight and generosity they are backing the kind of innovation that will be crucial for the higher education sector in the years to come,” he said.

“ The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted to all the central role that science and technology must play in helping us solve the pressing problems of our time. The E3 Research Institute will considerably broaden Trinity’s capacity in emerging areas of research and innovation, and lead to strong economic and societal benefits for the country.”

Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast said the college was deeply grateful for the “transformative” donation.

“The development of Trinity East is a historic opportunity for a university which has existed on its main campus since 1592,” he said.

“Our ambition is not just for ourselves. We are working hand in hand with the government to implement a staged strategy of strengthening higher education research, innovation, research and science.”

The college says it will be among the first centres internationally to integrate engineering, technology and scientific expertise at scale in addressing some of the biggest challenges of our time such as climate change, renewable energy, personalised data, water, connectivity, and sustainable manufacturing.