*Check against delivery*
I would like to welcome you all here to this morning to InnaLabs state of the art facility and headquarters in Blanchardstown, Dublin;
I am delighted to be here today at this exciting event to announce the development of Ireland’s first Space Strategy for Enterprise;
The development of Ireland’s first Space Strategy is extremely timely as - not only is the global space sector evolving to provide increased opportunity for private industry and enterprise – but, Ireland’s space sector is also rapidly developing its capabilities to provide innovative and progressive products and services for the international space market;
Furthermore, national policy recognises the space sector as an area of opportunity. Ireland’s National Enterprise Policy, Enterprise 2025, identified Space as a new sectoral area of opportunity for Ireland. This policy recognises that Irish companies have the capability and competence to bring innovative space products to the commercial space market; Furthermore, companies involved in the sector have also demonstrated an ability to adapt their space technologies to the non-space market – an important aspect for developing a sustainable space sector.
A prime example of one of the many Irish companies with the ability to design, manufacture and market these innovative space products is InnaLabs. InnaLabs have demonstrated their impressive capabilities through the numerous contracts they have won with the European Space Agency;
Winning a contract with the European Space Agency internationally qualifies a product, fostering a positive international reputation for a company and increased opportunity for future work;
As such, in addition to announcing the development of the Space Strategy today, I am delighted to be the first to congratulate InnaLabs on winning the significant contract with the European Space Agency that they have announced today.
This €2.6m contract, which is InnaLabs biggest to date with ESA, is a major step for InnaLabs, and a major step for Ireland in demonstrating our advanced and extremely innovative and cutting-edge space sector;
I have seen first-hand the how impressed the European Space Agency are by the leading-edge work carried out here in Blanchardstown. I had the privilege of leading a trade mission to ESA along with InnaLabs in April last year. The strong impression that InnaLabs and its technology made on ESA was immediately clear. This has resulted in a very rapid progression through the ESA procurement system. The speed at which this activity progressed to contract stage is truly unprecedented and is a testimony to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the InnaLabs and its staff;
As Minister with responsibility for Research and Development, I strongly believe that there is a real opportunity to significantly grow this sector in Ireland. Developing a strategy to guide us is an important step in achieving this growth;
When developed, the Strategy will support Ireland’s key strategic objective to optimise and grow the economic return and impact from our investment in the European Space Agency and the EU’s space programmes;
As the space sector continues to develop and grow, the Strategy will also provide a roadmap for Irish investment to enable us to stay internationally competitive, and will provide guidance for the increased use of the EU Space Programmes for the public good, by both public and private sectors;
I am looking forward to starting this process - developing a tactical and grounded Space Strategy for Enterprise, to support Ireland’s continued success in the space sector. I look forward to working with many of you in the months ahead developing this ambitious strategy.