The National Gallery of Ireland was established by an Act of Parliament in August 1854 (the “1854 Act”). Since then there have been a number of subsequent amending Acts providing for the administration of the institution. Under its statutes the affairs of the National Gallery are entrusted to a Board of Governors and Guardians who are responsible for policy and oversight. The statutes provide for a post of a Director, who is appointed by the Board, and is responsible for the operation of the institution.
The most recent legislation concerning the Gallery is the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997.
An autonomous National Cultural Institution, the Gallery operates under the aegis of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.