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Ireland commits to continued investment in European Space Programme which will enable further expansion of space sector in Ireland

Minister Halligan attends European Space Agency Council Meeting in Lucerne.

Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation John Halligan TD, along with Ministers with responsibility for space within the 22 ESA Member States and Canada, are gathering in Lucerne, Switzerland.

This meeting held every three years and gives Ireland the opportunity to input into setting the agency’s strategies and policies. During these ESA Members meetings the direction for the coming years is decided upon and any additional budget for the future is allocated. Ministers also agree to start new programmes or bring an end to old programme.

Supporting this growth, the Irish Government has confirmed its commitment to investing in space programmes at the ESA Ministerial Council held in Lucerne where Ireland’s investment will underpin further expansion of this sector in Ireland. 

Among the programmes in which Ireland will be continuing to participate in include Earth Observation, Satellite Communications, Next Generation Launchers, such as Ariane 6 and Vega C, and Satellite Navigation, among others.

Speaking at the ESA Ministerial meeting in Lucerne Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD said "The European Space Agency plays a critical role in developing the Irish space industry, particularly the SME and High Potential Start-Up sectors. This is an exciting time for the Irish space industry and with the support of my Department and Enterprise Ireland the Irish space sector is set to expand at an unprecedented rate over the next few years”.

The Minister continued “My Department’s investment in ESA will manifest itself through new companies entering the space sector, scaling of existing companies and the further expansion of a strong cohort of high technology start-ups, leading to increased sales, exports and jobs. As I have previously said, it is an exciting time for Ireland as employment is set to double in the Irish space sector over the next number of years with 1000 high value technologies jobs expected.

 Minister Halligan also said “We are seeing space-based technologies becoming increasingly critical to our everyday lives, whether is vehicle navigation, environmental monitoring, managing our national resources and emergency response. In addition, we are seeing growing commercial opportunities for Irish companies related to space and satellite technologies including satellite Internet/IoT, commercial space launch vehicles, use of satellite data for environmental protection and climate change monitoring”.

“Our investment in ESA will continue to underpin the Irish growth in this and related sectors and I hope that we can invest additional funding in the coming years as the industry base continues to expand and as even more commercial opportunities arise”. 

Ireland will invest over €90 million to 2021 in strategic ESA space Programmes which will put high-tech Irish companies and researchers in a position to exploit the growing global space economy to the maximum.

Given the high level of technology innovation in Ireland, Irish space companies are ideally placed to gain a significant share of the global space market and are already expanding rapidly into it.The Irish Government's investment in ESA is supporting strong growth in the sector in Ireland with the number of companies in the sector expected to expand to over 80 by 2020, generating annual revenues growing from over €75 million in 2015 to over €150 million by 2020. This investment will also double employment, with the creation of over 1,000 high value technology jobs in Irish industry by 2020. Companies involved with ESA are also projected to increase combined turnover from €274 million to over half a billion euros by 2020.

The economic impact of ESA space programmes can also be seen in new Irish companies, disruptive technologies, new long term sustainable jobs, new products, new exports and new markets.

The recently established ESA space business incubator (ESA BIC) in Ireland will also support Irish companies to transfer space technologies to a range of non-space applications including aerospace automotive and healthcare.

This Government’s investment in ESA forms part of a wider strategy for Irish industry and research facilities to access opportunities to develop space capabilities under Horizon 2020 and other R&D programmes of the European Union.



For further information please contact:

Press Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation. P: (01) 631 2200



The European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s and Ireland’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. Today it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Membership of ESA provides Ireland’s businesses with access to a €5 billion per year technology development organisation that has no equal anywhere outside NASA along with greatly improved access to Global and European institutional space clients, prime contractors and technology supply chains.

ESA plays a critical role in developing a strong European Space programme and space industry and has been fundamental to in developing the specialised, highly innovative, industrial capabilities that exist in the Irish space sector. ESA :-

  • Provides a significant capital investment support for in-company & 3rd level RDI in leading edge space technologies for commercial exploitation in the global space and non-space markets for the SME and MNC sector.
  • Supports the Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland strategy of supporting high potential start-ups, company scaling, as well as foreign direct investment.
  • Provides prioritised support for technology innovation and technology transfer that leads to exports, sales and employment generation by Irish industry.
  • A platform to fully exploit the opportunities of the Global space market and maximise the financial return and economic impacts of Ireland’s financial contributions to the EU space programme budgets.
  • Contributes directly BERD and HERD, to all metrics and targets in Innovation 2020, Enterprise 2025 and EI and IDA Strategies.

More details on Enterprise Ireland, managing Ireland’s investment in the European Space Agency

Enterprise Ireland co-ordinates Ireland’s industrial and research participation in the programmes of the European Space Agency (ESA) in collaboration with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

The purpose of Ireland’s membership of ESA is to participate in European space programmes with a focus on facilitating innovative Irish companies to develop leading edge space technologies and to commercially exploit their ESA participation in global space and non-space markets, leading to increased export sales and employment.

Enterprise Ireland’s role in relation to ESA is to assist Irish companies to successfully bid for ESA contracts, providing expertise for Irish companies and researchers in developing and executing space strategies, as well as being a point of reference for the international space industry when they want to identify relevant sources of space-related expertise within Ireland.

Irish industrial and research participation in ESA covers a range of sectors and technology areas including; software, precision mechanical engineering, telecommunications, electronics, optoelectronics and advanced materials and extending to end user equipment, services and applications.

For further information on participation in ESA programmes by Irish industry and research community see: For further information on the Ministerial Council, please contact:ESA Media Relations OfficeTel: +33 1 53 69 72 99Email:

ESA TVESA TV will provide: Videos 21–29 November explaining what is at stake in Lucerne for each ESA programme Directorate will be transmitted via ESA TV platforms (ESA TV ftp, EbS).ESA TV will edit highlights before, during and after the conference and put them in a dedicated folder on ESA TV FTP news site: Login: esa/ Password ftp4esaAll details will be available at:

Images The latest high-resolution images can be found at:ESA’s Multimedia Gallery: ESA’s Photo Library for Professionals:  Media image queries can be directed to

Social media ESA will cover events on Social Media via the following channels:Twitter:  Hashtag #ESACM16

Additional coverage will be available via: Facebook:  Google+: Flickr: and   Questions may be asked via