The company in charge of ticket sales for the Book of Kells is suing Trinity in an attempt to stop the College from awarding the ticket system contract to another company.
The company, Future Ticketing, has had the contract to run the ticketing system for the Book of Kells for several years, and now says that the tendering process Trinity is using to award the new contract is illegal, the Times has reported.
Liam Holton, the founder of Future Ticketing, has filed an affidavit and the case will be brought in front of the High Court on January 20th.
The Education Procurement Service, which is in charge of all procurements for services that are under the remit of the Department of Education, issued the new tender in June, valuing the contract at €620,000 over four years. The tender had a set of strict requirements which the successful company must meet, including a minimum turnover of €300,000 every year for the past three years and an employer’s liability insurance of at least €13,000,000.
Neither Holton or the College responded to a request for comment from the Times.
The new tender comes after a bountiful few years for the Book of Kells. The number of visitors has grown by 45 per cent since 2014, and the ancient book is now the fourth most popular tourist attraction in Ireland. In 2018, the Book of Kells welcomed its millionth visitor in one year, marking the first time the exhibition had a million visitors in a single year.
The Book of Kells has been temporarily removed from the Old Library and replaced with a replica until March 2020 to allow for conservation works on the display area in which it is housed. As a result, ticket prices to see the exhibition have been cut by 15 per cent.
The works are part of a larger conservation and preservation plan for the Old Library.
In september, The University Times reported that Trinity’s Old Library was set for a major reconfiguration, which will see many of its oldest manuscripts moved to a new research space on the ground floor and involve the embedding of the library’s shop into the podium outside the Berkeley.
The revamp, which will significantly alter the way tourists interact with the building, is part of a College strategy to improve the conditions in a library that houses some of its oldest manuscripts and book collections.
Speaking to The University Times, the College Bursar, Veronica Campbell, said the move will involve “taking the shop out of the ground floor” and embedding it into a space located underneath the Berkeley podium. The library’s Early Printed Books section, as well as its manuscripts reading room, will move into the space vacated by the shop.