College settles legal action over Book of Kells

The court case was with a company that lost the contract to run the attraction’s ticketing system

Trinity has settled a High Court action which was taken by the company which sells tickets for the Book of Kells exhibition in the Old Library, the Times reported yesterday. 

Future Ticketing, a Tullamore based company, has run the ticketing system for the exhibition since 2016. The company had alleged that a new four-year contract to run the ticketing operation had been wrongly awarded to Ticketsolve.

College generated almost €13 million in revenue from the Book of Kells exhibition in 2019. 

Future Ticketing claimed that the scoring used in the award was “ambiguous or discriminatory”. The legal action led to the suspension of the €620,000 contract award. 

On Monday last week, the case was settled. According to the Times, it is understood that Future Ticketing agreed to withdraw the case after reaching a financial settlement with Trinity over the case’s legal costs.

College said that they would not comment on the agreement. 

In a statement, Future Ticketing claimed they were “delighted” to have settled the court case with Trinity. 

“We are proud of our legacy of digital innovation and transformation in TCD including a tenfold increase in digital ticket sales and attracting over one million visitors annually to the Book of Kells,” it said.

It continued: “Our team always works in the best interest of our customers, and one of our great achievements working with the proactive members and former members of staff in TCD was generating €10m in incremental sales revenue for TCD.”

College said its contract with Authenticity Tours, which also sells tickets to the Book of Kells will end at the end of the year. The value of the contract has been estimated to be €6.7 million.

It is likely there will be further disruption to the Book of Kells exhibition next year, as College plans to redevelop the Old Library. 

The Book of Kells exhibition is currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. College has stated that it is “impossible to say” what the cost of closure is.

College’s Library Shop is also a major source of revenue for Trinity, chalking up revenues of €5.2m last year.

On March 10, Trinity made the decision to move all lectures until the end of the term online, as well to close all tourist attractions in Trinity, including the Old Library and Book of Kells exhibition, the Science Gallery and the Douglas Hyde Gallery.

College has been closed since March 12 at 6pm, when the government mandated the closure of all schools and colleges to stop the spread of Covid-19. 

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the News Editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Fresh English and Philosophy student.