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Senator Colm Burke

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I too join with others in congratulating everyone involved in preparing this Chamber. The facilities are clear evidence that there was a very good team effort between the people here in Leinster House, the planners, contractors and everyone involved. I congratulate them on the work they have done.
I would like to raise the very good and welcome announcement today of €350 million to be spent by UCC on developing new facilities, which are the Cork University Business School at a cost of €100 million, student accommodation at €64 million and €37 million for a dental school.
I raise this in connection to the development of third level education and our association with other organisations. Over the past few months, I have raised the fact that Ireland is not a member of CERN, the huge European organisation for nuclear research. It has great opportunities for Irish graduates in research and development, whether in technology, science, engineering or maths. Ireland is not a member of CERN. Some 21 European countries are members of CERN and the only country from outside Europe is Israel. Some 22 countries are involved. The big disadvantage from an Irish point of view is that as well as excluding graduates from research opportunities, we are also excluding more than 200 Irish companies which would gladly tender for contracts that are available every year. More than €300 million is available in contracts from CERN every year. Irish companies are not allowed to tender because Ireland is not a member. We are not even an associate member. I do not understand it. I ask the Leader to invite the Minister to the House to set out clearly the programme that will be put in place for Ireland to become a full member of CERN.