Following the royal visit to NUIG on Tuesday, The Duchess of Cornwall remained in the city for a number of engagements while Prince Charles travelled further afield. The prince, who established the International Sustainability Unit in 2010, had expressed a particular interest in visiting the State’s marine research headquarters in Rinville, en route to the Burren.
The International Sustainability Unit was set up to facilitate consensus on how to resolve some of the key environmental challenges facing the world – such as food security, ecosystem resilience, and the depletion of natural capital.
Ireland's Marine Institute is at the cutting edge of international marine research, driving forward our understanding of the Atlantic Ocean. The work of the institute drives ocean discovery and exploration. It also provides the basis for the sustainable development of our marine resources.
Institute chairman John Killeen and chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan introduced Prince Charles to staff working in areas relating to sustainable fisheries, marine bio-discovery, international collaboration on ocean research and climate change impacts.
Prince Charles was also introduced to University College Cork professor of geology Dr Andrew Wheeler, who spoke about the results of a British-Irish expedition to the mid-Atlantic ridge in 2011. Dr Wheeler presented His Royal Highness with a 330 million year-old piece of fossil coral from Streedagh, near Mullaghmore in Co Sligo.
Dr Paul Connolly, fisheries ecosystem director, showed satellite images of current fishing activity by EU and Irish vessels in Irish waters, and Prince Charles discussed marine biodiscovery and sutainable pharma and medical device use with Dr Margaret Rae.
HRH was also briefed on the first trans-Atlantic mapping survey to take place under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance by the EU, Canada, and USA. The Irish-led survey will begin early next month when the RV Celtic Explorer sails from St John’s Newfoundland to Galway.
The Prince of Wales welcomed the Galway Statement, which established the research alliance, as an important step in improving international co-operation in understanding the impact of climate change on the oceans.