Science key to future of State, says Taoiseach


SCIENCE IS where it’s at, the Taoiseach assured 1,200 students and hundreds of others in the audience when he formally opened the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2012.

It was also about the country’s future and about how the students of today would live their lives tomorrow, Enda Kenny said at the RDS in Dublin.

The Taoiseach took a break between Government business yesterday morning and the Dáil in the evening to take part in the celebrations to launch the 2012 event. The students assembled in the BT arena at the RDS showed their appreciation and then some, clapping and shouting their approval noisily as he complimented them on their hard work.

They also responded in kind when main sponsor BT’s chief executive officer announced that an extra prize would be given to the winner of the competition. Along with a trophy and a cheque for €5,000 the winner would attend the Olympic Games next July in London, Colm O’Neill told the packed arena.

Needless to say there was also rock music and smoke to mark the beginning of the 48th young scientist exhibition. The introductions were handled by presenters Aidan Power and Róisín Ní Thomáin and the speeches were all mercifully short, an important factor for students anxious to get back into the RDS main hall to begin proceedings.

Formal judging began yesterday after the launch and continues again this morning.

Students will be assessed on the quality of their displays and projects but also on their ability to describe and discuss their research with the judges.

“Science and technology are where it is at for Ireland’s future,” Mr Kenny told the students. The quality of their work showed the great potential for Ireland in these important areas. “That is absolutely critical for our future.”

All of the students in the audience were already winners, Mr O’Neill said. They had won through the pre-selection process which saw the number of entries winnowed down from more than 1,700 to the 550 who would actually be exhibiting at the event.

“This is your chance to shine,” he declared to whoops and applause from the students.

The winner of the 2012 young scientist of the year will be announced at about 7pm tomorrow evening.