Future in good hands as our schoolyard scientists impress and intimidate TDs
Ireland's leading political figures are taking note from the next generation at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.
The annual event opened its doors to the general public yesterday and was thronged as young scientific innovators met the prestigious competition's judges throughout the day.
Tánaiste Joan Burton was one of the first to visit some of the 550 stalls in the RDS.
"I'm delighted to see so many girls participating," she said, adding that she expected to see many of the exhibitors excel in international competitions.
"I think our future is in very intelligent hands. Looking at the creativity they've applied to their subjects, we have a set of very intelligent kids here today."
Children's Minister James Reilly also attended and was particularly impressed by a drone that could assist someone suffering from a cardiac problem.
"These are lifesaving, innovative, thinking-outside-the-box approaches to things that fill you full of confidence for the future," he said.
"We've been poor in encouraging girls in particular to be involved in the sciences, and it's great that 62pc of the people here today are girls," he added.
"The only thing that limits us is our imagination, and there's no shortage of it in that room."
Meanwhile, Health Minister Leo Varadkar revealed that he often felt "inadequate" when visiting the exhibition each year.
"I meet all these very young people who have patents and all sorts of things," he said. "But it does give you hope and confidence for the future that our young people are so bright."
Meanwhile, RTÉ's Bryan Dobson gave budding journalists a masterclass in interview skills.
"It gives me a tremendous boost at he start of a new year to come and meet these young people," he said.