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Fresh dispute €37m Children's Science Centre plans hit by setback over Iveagh Gardens concerns

The museum would comprise 200 purpose-built exhibits including a planetarium, which will have a 15-metre dome and seat 200 people

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A petition was started to help protect the Iveagh Gardens

A petition was started to help protect the Iveagh Gardens

A petition was started to help protect the Iveagh Gardens

Plans to build Ireland's first national science centre have been hit with a further setback, as a fresh dispute has erupted over the progress of the project.

Construction on the €37m National Children's Science Centre was due to begin last year, but this was put on hold due to the pandemic and "other unforeseen circumstances".

The NCSC board said works would instead begin at the end of this year, but it has now emerged that a row between the promoters and the Office of Public Works (OPW) has gone into arbitration.

Planning permission for the museum - aimed at children aged between five and 14 - was received by An Bord Pleanála in September 2016.

Permission was granted to the OPW to build the centre at the north wing of the National Concert Hall at Earlsfort Terrace in Dublin city centre.

The museum would comprise 200 purpose-built exhibits including a planetarium, which will have a 15-metre dome and seat 200 people.

A petition objecting to the centre being built at that location has so far received more than 46,000 signatures due to concerns it would cause disruption to the nearby Iveagh Gardens. Part of the gardens are to be used to accommodate the four-storey centre.

Actress Pom Boyd, who started the petition, described the project as a "white elephant" and argued it would be harmful to local wildlife.

The planning approval stated: "On balance, the new building and plaza would make a positive contribution to the public realm and the works would not affect the integrity of the Iveagh Gardens."

When the Herald contacted the OPW for comment on the status of the project, a spokesperson said: "An arbitration process has commenced for the proposed new National Children's Science Centre and it would be inappropriate to comment pending the outcome of this process."

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