Payouts to visitors who were injured when a staircase collapsed in the so-called Dead Zoo are set to cost the taxpayer more than €905,000.
To date, the National Museum of Ireland has paid out €505,402 to people injured in the 2007 incident at the Natural History Museum.
Now, in its latest published accounts, the loss-making National Museum has said a further €402,563 is committed to settle future claims from the incident.
This will bring the total payout to €907,965.
In the incident, a stone staircase in the building collapsed, injuring 11 people from a group of primary school teachers attending a science appreciation course.
The Natural History Museum was closed, and €450,000 was spent before it re-opened in 2009.
The accounts show losses at the National Museum almost tripled from €209,748 to €586,300 in 2013 as funding from the State fell by €1.2m.
However, the National Museum will not have to shoulder the €907,965 burden from the stairway collapse after reaching a deal with the Department of the Arts and Heritage, which has agreed to foot the bill.
In a note attached to its 2013 accounts, the museum board states that the liability for all current and future claims in respect of the structural defects which led to the collapse of the staircase “lies with the Commissioners for Public Works, as agents for the State”.
It states: “The Board insists that no legal liability attaches to it in respect of the personal injuries cases.” The board says the Department has indicated that the payment of the damages and costs associated with these cases must be channelled through the National Museum of Ireland.
The accounts also refer to the theft of €400,000 rhino horns at the museum’s Collections Resource Centre in Swords in April 2013. The report states a full review of security procedures and processes was carried out by the museum, its security providers, and gardaí and the review’s recommendations have been implemented.
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