Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research & Development James Lawless TD has called on the Government to begin the process of joining CERN.

Deputy Lawless made the comments after meeting with CERN Professor Emmanuel Tsesmelis in Dublin earlier today alongside UCD Professor Ronan McNulty.

Deputy Lawless said, “Earlier this year I visited CERN in Geneva to explore the possibility of Ireland joining the organisation and to build relationships with their executive team. Arising from that visit I requested the Joint Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation to place CERN membership on its work programme and to hold hearings on it. I also invited Professor Tsesmelis to visit Dublin with the aim of progressing the campaign for Ireland to join CERN.

“Ireland is one of the only European countries not currently a member of CERN and we are suffering in scientific, educational and research circles as a result of this. If Ireland joins CERN our researchers, students and commercial companies could avail of many benefits. This includes opportunities for work placement’s across fields such as computer science, engineering and physics. Irish companies would also be allowed to tender for contracts at CERN to supply services and materials to support its operations.

“There are also additional spin-off benefits of CERN membership, for example the world wide web was discovered at CERN by accident, by Tim Berners Lee whilst working on a networking project for sharing research.

“If the Government is to be taken seriously in promoting science, research and development then it must advance plans to ensure Ireland becomes a member of CERN at the earliest opportunity. CERN has 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. Ireland being outside of CERN represents a missed opportunity for advancing scientific research and securing investment,” concluded Deputy Lawless.