Plans for National Children's Science Centre back on track 

Plans for National Children's Science Centre back on track 

There are fears the National Children’s Science Centre in Dublin could be hit by rising construction costs.

The Office for Public Works has lodged a new planning application and is seeking a main contractor to build the long-mooted National Children’s Science Centre in Dublin.

Planning permission had been granted for the €37m centre next to the National Concert Hall, near St Stephen’s Green, in 2016 but the permission was allowed to lapse. There are concerns now, however, that the project could end up costing far more due to soaring construction costs.

It had also been reported that the Government planned to abandon the project but the consortium overseeing it was successful in an arbitration process which ultimately requires the project to go ahead.

Bertie backing

Plans for a National Children’s Science Centre were touted as far back as the mid-2000s, with then-taoiseach Bertie Ahern calling for a national interactive science centre like those found in other European countries.

In 2018, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said it was not yet possible to provide an accurate estimated cost but that the construction of the premises “will be met from exchequer funding”.

At that stage, those plans were being progressed but the Government entered arbitration with the board leading the museum project, Irish Children’s Museum Ltd. 

The development of the centre would see the construction of a new four-storey planetarium dome to the west of the north wing of the National Concert Hall at the boundary with the Iveagh Gardens.

It would have more than 200 purpose-built exhibits while the planetarium would incorporate a 15-metre dome and seating for 200.

To date, around €500,000 has been spent on the project on the appointment of a design team and associated consultants.

The OPW has been contacted for comment.

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