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Kelly launches Ireland for CERN membership campaign

Friday, 31st January, 2014 9:11am
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Kelly launches Ireland for CERN membership campaign
Sean Kelly, MEP this week launched the Ireland for CERN membership campaign at the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin.

The former GAA President, Sean Kelly MEP, is a leading advocate for Ireland’s CERN membership and recently held detailed discussions with Dr Rolf Heuer, Director General of CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research and the world’s top particle physics lab, to discuss how Ireland can progress membership.

Mr Kelly MEP has also written to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, as well as Ministers Bruton and Sherlock asking them to bring a proposal to Cabinet on CERN membership.

Commenting at the Ireland for CERN launch today, Sean Kelly, MEP and member of the European Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee, said: ‘CERN membership can make Ireland a global hub for young scientists and leading innovators. From speaking to many scientists and academics in Ireland and abroad, it is clear that we are missing out on opportunities to lead R&D projects because we are not yet a member of CERN.

‘Membership would bring financial benefits in terms of more research projects, employment opportunities, give a boost to science education and the promotion of Irish research bodies.

‘The Institute of Physics in Ireland has previously stated that the physics based industry has a value to the Irish economy of €15 billion annually (2008 report). Particle physics is an essential element of the discipline and CERN is by far the world’s leading laboratory in this area.

‘Without membership, Ireland is unable to participate in the most fundamental and far-reaching aspects of research physics with its attendant benefits of spin-off industrial outcomes according to the institute.

‘CERN membership leads to valuable research contracts. Some leading scientists estimate that Ireland could win a share of the €500 million a year in contracts that CERN gives to industry. It is vital that Ireland is at the forefront of research and innovation as we look towards the future and increase employment prospects.

‘Ireland risks lagging behind other leading technology based economies and major software exporters, such as Israel, by not joining the CERN project. The practical fall-out from non-membership means that our scientists and software companies cannot apply and bid for multi-million euro contracts and research grants coming from the CERN centre.’