New harassment allegations at National Museum, Dáil hears

Josepha Madigan confirms more cases following questioning from Sinn Féin TD

 The National Museum on Dublin’s Kildare Street. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The National Museum on Dublin’s Kildare Street. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

There have been new allegations of bullying and harassment among staff at the National Museum in Dublin, Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan has said.

“I cannot discuss individual cases,’’ she added.

She was replying in the Dáil on Wednesday to Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín, who said the museum had been “racked with allegations of bullying and sexual harassment’’ over the past number of years.

Mr Tóibín said millions of euro had been spent so far on consultants, reports, sexual abuse experts and High Court payoffs due to the issues at the museum.

“This, of course, does not include the very real damage that has been done to the lives of a large number of people who simply wanted to work in the premier heritage location in Ireland, ’’ he said.

Ms Madigan said the museum was a statutory body under the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997, and she had no responsibility for its day-to-day operations.

“While I cannot get involved in HR matters, which are a matter for the executive and the board of the museum, my department has provided additional support, including sanction for three specific HR positions and two temporary positions for the corporate services area of the museum,’’ she said.

Ms Madigan said a new board had been appointed in July 2016 and was implementing change in the museum, as well as preparing plans to improve its services for the public over the coming years.

“My department and I are supportive of these plans,’’ she added.

She said dedicated workshops had been arranged for board members and senior staff of bodies that report to her department.

“There will be a particular emphasis on issues relating to bullying, abuse of power and sexual harassment in the workplace,’’ Ms Madigan added.