Sherkin Marine Research Station celebrates a quarter of a century's work which has defied the establishment.
Opposed by intellectuals, the universities and the Irish government, the independently run Sherkin Island Marine Station, off-shore from the fishing village of Baltimore in County Cork, is celebrating 25 years in existence.
The Research Station’s silver jubilee is celebrated with an event, the highlight of which is the dedication of a plaque in memory of is founder Matt Murphy's late wife, Eileen, who established the marine station with him in 1975.
Much of the initial opposition to the Station was concentrated against Matt Murphy, because of his lack of academic qualifications. He is amused by and pities the academics who were so vindictive about Sherkin in the early years,
But you know the academics, they have so much to offer and yet they have failed to deliver on the marine environment in the country.
The Marine Station does not receive state funding which allows Matt Murphy to do things his own way. The Station has identified and developed responses to the 'red tide’ an algal bloom that threatens shellfish, its annual conferences are respected and supported internationally and it has a huge reference library of scientific works and carries out surveys recording marine life.
Hundreds of biologists voluntarily support the work on Sherkin, but assistance from Irish universities is poor. Dr Gillian Bishop, the first volunteer that came from Britain in 1975 is attending the anniversary event. She is in no doubt about the value of the Station as a number of its programmes are recognised worldwide,
I think it has made an impact with the people that have worked here, in their lives and I think it has made an impact in Ireland.
A ‘Morning Ireland’ report broadcast on 11 September 2000. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.