Even though Ireland doesn't have its own space programme, space sector jobs are predicted to rise from 40 to more than 1,000 by 2020, and a major space event is being held in Cork this summer.
So you know, we're kinda into space.
But we never knew that there was a specific Space Minister.
John Halligan, the Minister of State for Training and Skills, is the designated man.
The Journal reports that a press release for this week’s opening of the International Space University’s Space Studies Program in Cork City Hall described Halligan as the Minister with responsibility for space.
Halligan apparently manages Ireland’s involvement with the European Space Agency, and although it is only a small part of his ministerial work, it's one that he has been interested in for a long time.
He told TheJournal.ie this week:
“I have a life-long interest in space exploration and science, particularly the Irish research community’s role in this, from the manned Apollo 16 and 17 missions to the moon to the high-profile international space missions that Irish scientists have been involved with since then. So I was delighted when I learned that a responsibility of mine at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation would be Ireland’s participation n the European Space Agency.
“Ireland has been a member of ESA for over 40 years and the primary purpose of Ireland’s investment in ESA is to participate in European space technology and space mission programmes with a focus on facilitating innovative Irish companies and researchers to develop leading edge space technologies for commercial exploitation in the global space and non-space markets, leading to increased exports, sales and employment.”
We might be sending a country lad to the moon yet boys!