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Minister Richmond attends joint EU-ESA Space Summit in Seville and welcomes ESA funding for Irish start-ups

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Neale Richmond TD attended the EU-ESA Space Summit in Seville on Monday 6th and today Tuesday 7th November, which incorporated a Ministerial meeting of the European Space Agency, an informal EU Competitiveness Council meeting on Space and a Joint EU-ESA informal meeting. There he welcomed €150,000 in ESA funding for three Irish space companies.

The Space Summit discussions centred on the ambition and focus of the European Union and the European Space Agency to secure a green and climate-resilient future, the need for greater European space autonomy and resilience and the importance of space systems for society, for security and for economic growth.

Speaking at the Summit, Minister Richmond said:

“With Ireland’s first satellite, EIRSAT-1 due to be launched in the coming weeks, this is an exciting time for the Irish space industry. As such, Ireland’s commitment to the European Space Agency and the space industry remains steadfast. Budget 2024 saw an additional €3.3 million allocated to ESA. 97 Irish companies have contracts with ESA, up from 60 in 2017 and this funding will help ensure this number continues to grow.

The Space sector plays a vital role in tackling the climate crisis and SMEs and start-ups must be supported in developing new technologies and services to help us to address the many climate challenges the world is facing.

The strengthening and protection of EU space infrastructure is also essential and can be achieved by supporting research and innovation and ensuring Europe is at the forefront of technological advancements.  Space systems are changing rapidly, and we are in an era of increased competition and commercialisation, which offers great opportunity for Irish SMEs and start-ups. The participation of SMEs and start-ups in all elements of the EU Space programme must be supported through funding as well as business supports.”

At the Space Summit the EU Space week (7-9 November) was launched and at which Minister Richmond welcomed funding of €150,000 for three Irish space companies though the Ireland ESA BIC consortium. 

Minister Richmond also said:

“I am delighted that this week three Irish start-ups have each secured funding of €50,000 from the ESA Business Incubation Centre in Ireland. From Sports Impact Technologies developing wearable technology to detect head impacts in sport in real-time, to Solsign using geospatial technology in the installation of solar panels, and ServBlock using Space technology in verifying locations for the pharmaceutical industry, these companies are at the cutting edge of space technology."