CERN membership off Ireland’s agenda

It is clear that CERN membership is well and truly off the Government agenda following an interview with Minister Seán Sherlock.

Science Calling
caught up with Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, in his office in Kildare Street recently. When asked about CERN membership he said “in a perfect world I would ensure that Ireland had a membership of every single international research entity but we don’t live in a perfect world.”

There was a lot of talk spurred by a press briefing with the director general of CERN, Dr Rold-Dieter Heuer  last July when said that “Ireland should be a member”. In later interviews he outlined the costs could be significantly lower than anticipated and that the Government was in talks with CERN.

This does not seem to be the case anymore. Citing the economic crisis, Minister Sherlock said “I would always leave the door open for the possibility in future if there is an economic upturn, which will come, that we don’t close the door on that opportunity.”

Ireland is the only country in Western Europe that isn’t a member of CERN. It was revealed during the Euroscience OpenForum that full membership could cost Ireland €11.6 million with part membership coming in at €1m.

Speaking of research organisations, Minister Sherlock added that “we are part of the European Space Agency. We’ve committed 17 million to that. That has had a tremendous effect in terms of the downstream effect, in terms of assisting Irish SME companies to be created.”

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Title photo credit: CERN

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