Sir, – Public interest in the recent discovery of the Higgs boson has been huge and this has re-opened the debate about Ireland’s non-membership of CERN. Contrary to recent reports in the media, CERN directly confirmed last week that becoming a full member would cost Ireland €11.6 million a year at current exchange rates.
Last year Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) spent €154 million on research (Editorial, July 14th), so full CERN membership would be just 7.5 per cent of this.
Even better, CERN has an introductory offer: associate membership, a foot in the door, for as low as 10 per cent of full membership.
Not €30 million, not €20 million, not even €10 million, but Ireland could join CERN for just over a million euro a year, about 25 cent per person per annum and significantly less than 1 per cent of SFI’s budget last year.
But there is more. With membership (full or associate) comes the opportunity for Irish firms to bid for contracts from CERN, covering almost every field of engineering from software systems and electronics to cryogenics and even construction and catering. These contracts can be worth millions, and the successful firms will gain additional benefits from the technological know-how at CERN.
Considering also the message being given to Ireland’s young people about our commitment to science and technology, and Ireland’s international reputation at the frontiers science, there can be no debate.
What a bargain! – Yours, etc,
Sir, – At a time when momentous discoveries are being made at CERN, it is a disgrace that Ireland is not associated with that body. We are told that it would cost only €1 million to become an associate member – a paltry sum for any of our billionaires. Perhaps, as I’ve indicated before, the real reason is that the the organisation’s name contains the dreaded N-word, in which case it might help to call it by its German title, EOK – Europäische Organisation für Kernforschung. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – A small cut of €6,025 in TD salaries would pay for membership of this illustrious body. – Yours, etc,