An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, visited Redbrick on the 21st May 2001. He came as a guest to a press conference to launch Redbrick's new Sun Enterprise 450 server (prodigy.redbrick.dcu.ie), donated to the society by Sun Microsystems. He also congratulated the society on it's recent achievements (winning the Best Society in DCU, working with both the Access Office and Community Office in DCU to promote computing through "open labs"), and was presented with honrorary membership of the society! (username: bertie. Please don't send him too much email...).
Speech by the Taoiseach,
Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D., at the Launch of
DCU's Networking Society's new server
at Dublin City University,
Thursday 21 May 2001 at 3.00pm
Professor Ferdinand Von Prondzynski, President DCU;
Dr. Patricia Barber, Registrar;
Donal Mulligan, Chairman, Redbrick Student Society.
I'm delighted to be here in DCU today, next door to my old school St. Aidan's, to celebrate the introduction of your new server. I've been told that the new server has roughly thirty times the memory capacity and forty-five times the storage capacity of the original redbrick server, which you launched only five years ago. It just goes to show the massive improvements that continue to take place in technology.
I want to congratulate you, Karl , on winning the 'Best Society Individual' award at the Clubs and Societies Awards here in DCU. Congratulations also to Redbrick for achieving the 'Best Society' from the Board of Irish College Societies. This is an excellent achievement for a relatively new society.
I noticed from the news reports section of the Redbrick website that the question you ask freshers when you want to get them to join is "do you like beer", because, according to the report, beer is what Redbrick is all about!
Looking at the work that your society is involved in, I don't know where you get time for beer. You are involved in a range of projects that goes beyond the university and out into the local community.
One of the aims of the Redbrick society is to help educate people in the usage of Internet utilities and resources. Your courses provide opportunities for students, including learning about a new operating system or becoming familiar with the Internet. You also provide courses for children in the local area and beyond. Your assistance provides a valuable resource to ensure that the coming generation can participate more fully in the information society.
We in Government recognise the Net as a huge opportunity for Ireland. We are already taking advantage of it in many ways. Over the last few weeks, two major public service projects have taken important steps forward. The OASIS and BASIS websites, which provide unified points of access to the citizen and to business respectively, now provide detailed information for users. You can also download application forms for a huge range of public services from these sites.
Job seekers can use the FÁS site to view a range of employment opportunities. By the end of next year we are aiming to have birth certificates, passports and driving licences available online.
The Government has taken a number of key initiatives in the area of connecting people to the Information Society, ranging from international connectivity through the Global Crossing link, to the CAIT Initiative which will help to connect local communities to the Net, an initiative which has generated huge interest.
Because we, as a Government, recognise the importance of looking to the future, we are investing heavily in our people, in skills development, and, to an unprecedented degree, in R&D - with an allocation of nearly two BILLION pounds, to move our IT sector up the value chain in the competitive global economy.
You picked some interesting names for previous servers used by the society, including 'nurse', 'nanny' and 'mother'. These words are usually associated with caring and nurturing, and I must say they seem particularly appropriate for the work that you do with the North Dublin Access Programme and the Centre for Talented Youth. You are nurturing a new generation of children who will become Internet aware and computer literate because of your work. I'm sure many of these children will soon be coming here as students, with a keen interest in computer applications and networks, thanks in large measure to the tutoring that you provide.
Already, the current generation is witnessing a communications revolution - one that is changing forever the way we live - giving us more information and empowering us in all kinds of ways.
We're familiar with the figures, that 4 out of every 10 Irish people have access to the Net - and that figure is growing all the time, as the internet becomes increasingly relevant to our lives. Students all over the country have Internet access in their schools and colleges.
It is very encouraging to see the partnership between Sun Microsystems and the society. The new server is not just your average PC. It is a state-of-the-art network server with massive storage and memory capacity. It will provide a platform not just for the society but also for student projects and of course for the children involved in the Access Programme and the Centre for Talented Youth courses. I know that the society is very grateful for this generous sponsorship.
Keeping Ireland at the forefront of the Information age will not be easy. It will require massive investment in infrastructure, training and education.
The Government is determined to see the benefits of the Information Society made widely available to maximise the opportunities available for all citizens. That's why we're focusing on developing the Information Society in Ireland. We know how important it is to make the new technologies relevant to everyday life - for everyone. That's why my Department is currently working with other Government Departments to identify how they can best deliver their services electronically.
The internet is central to the delivery of online Government services - and becoming more so. There will come a time - and the sooner the better
I wish you every success with this new server, which should assist you in your excellent work for many years to come.