An Taisce has written to Dublin City Council pointing out the proposed, temporary relocation of Seanad Éireann to the adjacent National Museum building on Merrion Square, represents a change of use for the museum, and so requires planning permission.
Under plans for the refurbishment of the existing Seanad chamber in Leinster House the Senators would move to the National Museum’s Ceramics Gallery which is next door on Kildare Street, for up to two years. The cost of the move is in the region of €1.5 million.
However, in its submission to the city council’s planning department, An Taisce pointed out the museum is a protected structure. An Taisce drew the planners’ attention to proposals to breach the external wall of the museum in at least three places to facilitate an entrance/exit for Senators and the public.
Lift on facade
An Taisce also said it was proposed to attach a lift to the facade of the protected structure while the Ceramics Room was “the only appropriate venue” in the museum for all their public lectures, seminars, workshops and educational programmes.
An Taisce also said it was taking issue with the Government’s attempts to seek “exempted development” status for the works.
“Exempted development” is only permissible if the works would not affect the character of the structure, said Dr Mark Clinton of An Taisce’s monuments and antiquities committee.
Dr Clinton said “clearly the works envisaged will alter the character of the protected structure and permission for the works should not be given”.
The former director of the National Museum, Dr Pat Wallace, expressed concern last week regarding the move and the impact this would have on staff and the museum’s operations.