Opinion: Junior Cert boys' tractor invention has raised my hopes for future
A recent meeting with three young lads has bolstered my hope for their generation's ability to prosper in the Ireland they will inherit.
The boys are Edward Daly, John O'Brien and Matthew O'Sullivan, all aged 14 and second year pupils at CBS, Kilkenny. They have developed a device called Lift Arm Assist.
It is a hydraulic ram that replaces the lift arm stabiliser on the back of the tractor. The ram is controlled by a spool level in the cab so it makes attaching implements like a mower easier and safer.
Its invention came about as a Classroom Based Assessment (CBA) requirement of the revamped Junior Cert Business curriculum. It has won for them the local round of the Student Enterprise Awards, in the intermediate category.
Edward is from a mixed tillage, dairy and beef farm and he was the one who came up with the idea, there having been a serious farm accident in his own family.
Since Edward's friends would hardly know a tractor from a trough, he was teamed up with Matthew, who is always making things with his hands, and John, who is from a dairy farm.
In getting the enterprise off the ground since last October, they have been guided by their teacher, Pat Downey.
But they had to do all the footwork themselves, making phone calls, sourcing a ram and adapting it to fit their purpose, talking to the patent office, market research at Kilkenny mart, advertising, setting up a website, hands-on sales, etc.