Plans Revealed for National Marine Research & Development Headquarters in Galway

Architect’s plans were revealed today for a state of the art national marine research centre to be built for the Marine Institute by 2004. The proposed development has been designed to world class standards by the OPW for a site in New Harbour, Rinville, Oranmore, Co. Galway. It will provide first-rate facilities that will enhance vital national marine research and development services. The estimated long term economic benefit of establishing the Marine Institute in Galway is €17 million per annum. More than 140 people will work at the new headquarters.

Planning applications were lodged today (March 22, 2002) for a facility with over 10,000m2 of the latest concepts and innovations in office and laboratory design. These have been designed to meet specialist & international accreditation requirements and provide a safe and accessible working environment. A voluntary environmental impact assessment has been prepared as part of the planning submission. The OPW team working on this project, have won both national and international architectural awards for previous public projects.

"Galway is poised to become the marine research capital of Ireland", said Mr. Fahey, Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources. "This new marine research centre, our national research vessels based in the Harbour and €19million HEA funding recently announced for marine science at NUI, Galway - these facts leave no doubt in my mind that Galway can be an information gateway for marine R&D in the north-east Atlantic. With this strong base we can build national and international recognition for the Irish marine research sector", he said.

The Marine Institute already provides essential marine research services, including national R&D funding programmes, marine environmental monitoring fish stock assessment, fish health services, marine food safety monitoring, research vessel operations and data management, which provide crucial support and policy advice to industry, EU and the Government. Marine R&D is a large-scale, international activity and Ireland is perceived internationally to have rapidly improved in this area through the 90’s and to have an ever more important role globally.

"The vast potential of Ireland’s marine resource is emerging and Ireland is becoming a major international player in Marine R & D", said Dr. Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive at the Marine Institute. "This is the result of significant Government investment in human and capital infrastructure, national funding programmes and state agencies, 3rd level institutions and private industry working in partnership. I am confident these new custom built facilities will help support scientists to boost Ireland’s reputation even further and put Irish marine research firmly on the map," he stated.

Minister Fahey also opened an interim premises in Galway Technology Park*, which represent a key stepping stone in the Marine Institute’s permanent relocation to Galway. These Offices will become the Institute headquarters to sustain a high level of service delivery during the relocation process.

"The Galway Technology Park facilities will mean enhanced service delivery to existing customers", said Dr. Heffernan. "But I also am looking forward to the extensive opportunity provided by our new strategic location in the West to build on existing partnerships and develop new ones with local industry and research groups", he concluded.