Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research& Development James Lawless TD has called on the Government to commit to joining the European Organization for Nuclear Research and European Southern Observatory.

Deputy Lawless pointed out that membership of these organisations offers enormous benefits to Ireland and would open up new opportunities to Ireland’s research and development sector.

Deputy Lawless said, “The Government needs to commit to joining CERN and ESO and should set out a timeline detailing the time lime for when this will become a reality. Given that space week is underway, it highlights the particular importance of these projects and the need for the Government to go beyond lip service and prioritize investment in these schemes.

“CERN has already proven to be a successful international collaborative body. I have met with a number of research labs and projects who have set out the enormous opportunities that membership of CERN presents Ireland with. Membership would undoubtedly benefit the research and development sector. The approximate annual fee of €10m is entirely justifiable based on the return to the State from new contracts, investment and further research opportunities.

“Membership of ESO also offers significant benefits to Ireland and we are very favourably positioned by virtue of the relative size of our astronomical community across our third level institutions. Ireland’s opportunity to join ESO is being heavily supported by industry leaders in the technology sector and there are significant opportunities available in securing commercial contracts which are available as a result of membership of the organisation.

“The Government has the opportunity in the coming days to set out a definite timeline for joining CERN and ESO. I hope they recognise the enormous benefits that membership of these organisations offer and set in train the membership application process,” concluded Deputy Lawless.