A spokesperson for the Board of the National Museum of Ireland, says it is considering a number of options to address the “serious funding challenges” it is facing.
In its latest statement on the matter, the museum group, which has a major site at Turlough, Castlebar, in the form of the Museum of Country Life, said its funding levels have fallen by 40 per cent since 2008.
In the same period, the museum registered a 35 per cent increase in visitor numbers to its four sites in Dublin and Mayo, which house many of the country’s most prized artefacts in art, archaelogy, natural and folk history.
It emerged last week that a number of cost saving measures are being considered by the museum to tackle its funding problems - including charging an entry fee.
In its statement, the museum group said it needs an additional €650,000 in 2015 to maintain existing services. However, its total allocation for the year remains the same as that granted in 2014.
“Since 2008, the number of visitors to the museum has increased by 35 per cent to a total of 1,071,193 while the number of web visitors has doubled to almost 500,000,” said the statement.
“In the same period, Exchequer funding has reduced from €19 million in 2008 to €11.4 million received in 2014 (a 40 per cent reduction ) while staff levels have been reduced from 210 in 2008 to 145 currently (a reduction of 31 per cent ).”
The statement said the National Museum of Ireland is a “valuabe national resource”
“[It] has secured and cared for objects relating to Irish heritage on behalf of the State for the past 137 years. It is Ireland’s premier cultural institution and home to the greatest collections of Irish material heritage, culture and natural history in the world.”
The Turlough branch of the museum, which celebrates the nation’s folk history, is one of Ireland’s most popular free visitor attractions.
According to Fáilte Ireland, it welcomed just short of 100,000 visitors through its doors in 2012.