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ESO Council approves Ireland’s application for membership

The Council of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has unanimously approved Ireland’s application for membership of the organisation.

Welcoming the news Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, Mr John Halligan T.D. said; “This is a significant step towards the completion of Ireland’s membership of ESO. I am delighted at the positive reception Ireland’s application received. Membership of ESO will bring significant benefits for advanced skills and research excellence in Ireland.”

The approval of Ireland’s application to ESO is a key development towards Ireland becoming a member of ESO later this year. Ratification of the agreement will now be progressed through Dáil Éireann for approval pursuant to Constitutional requirements for international agreements with a charge on public funds. A signing ceremony will be organised during the summer with ESO, details of which will be released closer to the date.

Notes for Editors

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is the leading international astronomical research organisation in the world. Founded in 1962 iESO headquarters are in Munich, Germany and it currently has 15 member states. ESO operates a variety of world-leading optical and radio telescopes which are all located in the Southern hemisphere, in the Andes mountains of Chile.

ESO is currently constructing its flagship project, the €1 billion European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The E-ELT will have a primary mirror 39m in diameter and will be the largest optical telescope in the world when it becomes operational in 2024.

The Government committed to initiate negotiations with ESO for Ireland’s membership as an action in Innovation 2020, Ireland’s strategy for research and development, science and technology.

International cooperation in research and innovation plays an important role in the development and sustainability of a world-class research and innovation system. International cooperation maximises the impact of international and national investment in research and innovation and develops international relations.


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