Seanad debates

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

2:30 pm

Photo of Sean BarrettSean Barrett (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I join in the happy new year wishes expressed by other Members and the congratulations offered to Mr. Peter Finnegan. I also congratulate Ms Maria Louise Fufezan and Ms Diana Bura who won the BT Young Scientist of the Year award last week with a project on enzymes in animal foods. They attend Loreto College in Balbriggan. The event was a huge success and, as Senator Ivana Bacik said, will feed into our discussion later on Innovation 2020.

I welcome the announcement yesterday of the development of a €1.5 million radio astronomy facility at Birr Castle. There is a significant tradition of astronomy and science in general among the Parsons family who own the castle and the future of that tradition is assured. This will also feed into the discussion on Innovation 2020.

Like the Cathaoirleach, I welcome Mr. George Hamilton to the House. He played the cello in Methodist College, Belfast, which suits him as he presents "Hamilton Scores" every Saturday and Sunday. He also studied modern languages at Queen's University Belfast, which means that he can pronounce all of those unpronounceable names of foreign footballers. His educational career suited him well for his two current posts. A tribute has been paid to him but because he was in Genoa at the time, he may not know about it. During the famous penalty shoot-out following two hours and 42 minutes of football the Taoiseach of the day, the late Mr. Haughey, suspended a press conference in Dublin Castle to mark the end of Ireland's EU Presidency because everybody wanted to see Packie Bonner and David O'Leary and hear George. We all wanted to hear a memorable phrase and his was, "The nation holds its breath." He is welcome.


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