Joan Burton says Ireland’s future is in intelligent hands after visit to Young Scientist Exhibition

Miriam O'Callaghan poses for a group selfie with students from Coláiste Bhréanainn, Killarney, Co Kerry. Picture: Brian McEvoy

It’s clear from a visit to the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition that the future of Ireland is in “intelligent hands”, said Tánaiste Joan Burton.

Ms Burton was one of a number of ministers who visited the RDS yesterday to find an abundance of imagination and curiosity.

She described it as a fantastic exhibition and was delighted to see so many girls participating.

With the quality of the entries “enormously high”, Ms Burton said she was confident that the winning projects would do well when they go forward to the various European and international competitions.

Joan Burton
Joan Burton

“I think it shows the growing confidence around the study of science, technology, and mathematics both by boys and girls.”

Ms Burton also visited the RDS Primary Science Fair where fourth, fifth, and sixth class pupils from 120 schools are exhibiting projects over three days.

Ms Burton was impressed by what she saw.

“I saw so many intriguing ideas being explored by the children,” she said.

“I think it bears out the recent OECD survey showing big improvements in Ireland in a generation, in terms of reading and mathematics. I think it bodes well for the future of young people in Ireland.”

Asked if Ireland’s future was in safe hands, Ms Buton replied: “I think our future is in very intelligent hands.”

The RDS Primary Science Fairs in Dublin and Limerick — a non-competitive event — received a record number of entries. It was oversubscribed by 40% and almost half of the applicants were first-time entrants.

Representing 27 counties from across Ireland, the 180 projects will be split between the RDS, where it is being shown alongside the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, and the inaugural Primary Science Fair in Limerick.

The Limerick Fair will be held next Friday and Saturday, January 15 and 16, at Mary Immaculate College.

RDS chief executive Michael Duffy said the increasing interest in the fair showed teachers’ desire for innovative ways of teaching science in the classroom and for pupils to have fun participating.

“The move to Limerick is the first of a national expansion that the RDS intend to roll out over the next few years and we know that the schools and people of Munster will help make it a great success,” said Mr Duffy.

The winner of the Young Scientist of the Year will be announced tonight.

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