Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan along with Ministers with responsibility for space within the 22 European Space Agency (ESA) Member States and Canada, gathered in Seville, Spain this week to attend ESA’s Ministerial Council meeting, Space19+.
The key purpose of the Ministerial meeting is to determine future ESA policies and strategies and to take decisions on Member States’ investment in future space programmes. The commercial space industry has been estimated to grow to approximately €2.3 trillion by 2030.
The Government says Ireland’s versatile and adaptive space-active industry is ideally placed to gain a significant share of this growing market and is already rapidly expanding into it. The number of Irish companies engaged with ESA contracts has grown from 45 in 2014 to 70 in 2019. This is an increase of over 55% in 5 years.
Ireland invested over €100 million to 2024 in strategic ESA space programmes which will put innovative Irish companies and researchers in a position to further seize the opportunities presented by the growing global space economy.
During Space19+, Minister Halligan confirmed Ireland’s investment in a number of ESA’s Optional Programmes. Ireland’s investment decisions at Space19+ have been guided by the National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019-2025, published earlier this year. The national strategy aims to develop a strong and economically sustainable space-active industry in Ireland.
Speaking at the ESA Ministerial meeting in Seville, Minister Halligan said, "Ireland’s investment will focus on programmes that enable Irish companies to become actively engaged in technology transfer, which will support long-term quality employment by providing leading-edge solutions for both the space and complementary markets, thus supporting several of the aims of Future Jobs Ireland, including embracing innovation and technological change, enhancing skills and transitioning to a low-carbon economy."