Complaints and appeals procedure 

A colour photograph showing the stone facade of the Gallery's historic wing taken from a height. The sky is blue and streaked with white clouds.
© National Gallery of Ireland. Photographer: Jack Caffrey, The Pimlico Project, 2017.Credit

The National Gallery of Ireland is committed to providing high-quality services to our visitors, whether in person at the Gallery, online or through our education programme.

We value your opinion and use information we receive to help us improve our services. If something goes wrong or you are dissatisfied with our services, please let us know. 

Scope of this procedure

This procedure describes the Gallery’s complaints process and how to appeal our decision as regards a complaint.

What is a complaint?

We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.

What can I complain about?

This procedure concerns complaints or appeals relating to delays, mistakes or instances where you did not receive the level of service you feel you are entitled to and decisions with which you are dissatisfied.

You can complain about things like:

  • Delays in responding to your enquiries and requests
  • The quality and standard of any service we provide
  • Failure to provide a service
  • The quality of our facilities
  • Our policies
  • Treatment by or attitude of a member of staff
  • The quality and standards of administrative processes
  • Our failure to follow proper procedure
  • Any concerns that you may have in relation to how we are using your personal data (data protection)

Your complaint may involve more than one of the Gallery’s services or be about someone working on our behalf.

What issues are not covered?

There are some things we can’t deal with through our complaints process. These include:

  • A routine first time request for a service such as an event booking or picture licensing request
  • General enquiries such as our rationale for inclusion of certain works and not others in an exhibition or the reason why a particular work of art is not currently on show (unless we have publicised that it is)
  • Matters which are the subject of litigation
  • A request for information under Freedom of Information, Data Protection or for Access for Information on the Environment legislation
  • A request for information or an explanation of policy or practice
  • Requests for compensation
  • Actions of staff which are not related to their role at the Gallery

A complaint will not be dealt with should the complaint be considered to be trivial or frivolous. Should this be the case, the Visitor Experience Manager will advise you of the Gallery’s views in respect of this and will not deal any further with the complaint.
If the complaint is considered to be vexatious, the Gallery may choose to limit or cease correspondence with you. This decision will require the authorisation of the Director and will be recorded as part of the record of the complaint. 

Unreasonable, vexatious or abusive complaints along with threats or abuse of staff will not be tolerated and, where appropriate, will be referred to An Garda Síochána. If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give you information and advice to help.

Who can complain?

Anyone who receives, requests or is directly affected by the services of the Gallery can make a complaint to us, including the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service. If you are making a complaint on behalf of someone else, you will need their personal written consent. We reserve the right to verify your authority to speak on another’s behalf if necessary.

How do I complain?

Complaints should be submitted:

  • by email to [email protected] 
  • by comment card (please ensure to tick the box stating that the matter should be dealt with as a complaint)
  • by post to: Complaints c/o Visitor Experience Manager, The National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square West, Dublin 2, D02 K303.

NB: please mark on any correspondence sent by post that it should be treated as a complaint, otherwise it will be considered to be feedback and dealt with under our Feedback Process.

If you unable, for whatever reason, to make a complaint in writing, please contact us by telephone at (01) 661 5133 (ask for Visitor Experience), making sure to verbally notify us that you are making a complaint.

Appeals against Gallery decisions and requests for internal review should use the same contact details given above.

When complaining, please tell us:

  • Your full name and an email address, telephone number or postal address that we may contact you on (in certain cases we may ask for proof of identity);
  • As much detail as you can about the complaint;
  • What has gone wrong;
  • How you would like us to resolve the matter.

Key steps in our complaints process

Stage 1:

On receipt, your complaint will be logged on our Complaints Register and assigned to either the relevant departmental manager or the Visitor Experience Manager. The manager will review your complaint and acknowledge it within 3 working days. We will provide a definitive reply to at least 95% of written queries within 20 working days. We will, in cases where there will be a delay, send you an interim reply explaining the current status of your complaint before the 20 working day period expires. Please note that complaints received by the Gallery pertaining to the Gallery Café will be forwarded to Café management (externally managed) who will respond directly.

Stage 2:

If you feel that our response is not satisfactory, you can appeal this decision to the Head of Operations within one month of receipt. Where such a request is not received within this timeframe, the complaint will be considered to be closed. The Head of Operations will review the matter and will revert to you within 5 working days. Please submit any such request using the contact details given above.

Stage 3:

If you feel that you are still not satisfied with this decision on appeal, you will be able to request an internal review from the Executive Leadership Team. Please submit any such request using the contact details given above within one month of receipt of the decision. Where such a request is not received within this timeframe, the complaint will be considered to be closed.
In certain circumstances, we may require more information to progress an internal review into your complaint. If you are unable to provide us with further information to deal with the matter, it may be the case that the complaint is considered closed.

On receipt of a request for an internal review:

  • The Executive Leadership Team will acknowledge your request within 5 working days and will advise you of the likely timeframe for receiving a response.
  • A full internal review into the complaint will be carried out. The Executive Leadership Team will assign this task to an appropriate member of the team to ensure transparency. 
  • If it is not possible to complete the internal review within 20 working days, a communication will be sent to you stating the reason for the additional time requirement and will include a progress report.
  • On completion of the internal review, a report will be prepared and a response will be sent to you.

The response will:

  • Contain an account of the issue at hand;
  • Address the issues outlined in your submission;
  • Where appropriate, the response will include a proposed remedy; and 
  • Contain a notification of your right to have the decision reviewed by the Ombudsman. 

The Executive Leadership Team’s decision will constitute the Gallery’s final decision on your complaint.

Stage 4:

If you are not satisfied with the Gallery’s final decision, you may refer your complaint and our replies directly to the Ombudsman or Ombudsman for Children, as appropriate, for consideration, within one month of receipt of the final decision. Where such a request is not referred within this timeframe, the complaint will be considered to be closed.

Stage 5:

6 months after receipt of your initial complaint, or when your complaint is considered by us to have been resolved, whichever is sooner, we will anonymise your complaint and delete all correspondence pertaining to it, unless the matter has become the subject of legal proceedings. We maintain a Complaints Register which contains a high-level anonymised summary of the complaint and its resolution for our records, but does not contain your personal data. Anonymised data from this register may be used to generate reports to help us identify areas in which we are receiving a high volume of complaints or recurring complaints, to help us improve our services.

Last revised: 2 December 2021

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