Press Release from Offaly County Council:
Professor Gallagher received the award at a Civic Reception in Offaly County Council on Monday, 16th October 2018. The special event was attended by Professor Gallagher’s family, colleagues and guests from the worlds of science, academia, tourism, enterprise and local development. Among the guests were Lord and Lady Rosse, Lady Alicia Clements of Birr Castle, and Mr. Joe Hogan of Openet.
At the Civic Reception, Offaly County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr. Danny Owens informed the attendees that the decision to confer a Civic Recognition Award is a reserved function of Offaly County Council. It is an acknowledgement of a person’s outstanding contribution to the County.
The Civic Recognition Award acknowledges Professor Peter Gallagher’s outstanding contribution to the County; leading the €2m I-LOFAR project in Birr, developing the I-LOFAR Education Centre in conjunction with Offaly County Council, and for on-going work to develop collaborative research and discovery in Offaly.
Cathaoirleach Cllr. Danny Owens spoke of Birr’s rich astronomical heritage, a worldwide reputation that is a great source of pride for Offaly people. The selection of Birr as the location for the new I-LOFAR radio telescope marks a new chapter for scientific endeavour in Offaly.
I-LOFAR is the Irish Station in a European wide network of state-of-the-art radio telescopes. The telescope is used to study celestial objects such as the sun, black holes and magnetic fields.
In addition to the benefits of having a cutting-edge science project in Offaly, having the I-LOFAR telescope in Birr opens up new possibilities for research, jobs, tourism and science education.
Offaly County Council’s Chief Executive Ms. Anna Marie Delaney acknowledged Professor Gallagher’s willingness to collaborate and work with Offaly County Council and others to harness the economic potential of I-LOFAR. Ms. Delaney outlined a number of projects where Professor Gallagher had generously given of his time, including the development of the I-LOFAR Education Centre and a field trip to ASTRON (the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy).
Professor Gallagher then gave an informative and engaging presentation on the I-LOFAR project and the opportunities for further development. Elected Members Cllr. John Carroll and Cllr. John Clendennen commended Professor Gallagher’s enthusiasm, work to date and drive to develop scientific discovery in Offaly.
Offaly County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr. Danny Owens then presented Professor Gallagher with a framed scroll and a specially commissioned piece of art to commemorate the Civic Recognition. The commissioned piece was designed and produced by LEO Offaly client Michelle O’Donnell of Glasshammer Studios. Radio images generated from the I-LOFAR telescope were used as inspiration for the piece.
MC and Director of Services Mr. Frank Heslin thanked all present and invited all to join the Members for refreshments in the Council atrium.
I-LOFAR is operated by Trinity College Dublin on behalf of the I-LOFAR Consortium. It is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Dept of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Offaly Co Co, and many others.