The Belfast born scientist in charge of the Large Hadron Collider has said Ireland is missing out by failing to join the European particle physics centre at CERN.

Dr Steve Myers said membership would bring financial benefits and help science education and promotion in Ireland.

Dr Myers is responsible for the €5bn Large Hadron Collider at CERN, which last year discovered the elusive Higgs Boson particle.

Full membership would cost around €12m and associate membership would cost a tenth of that.

In a statement, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said membership of International research bodies had to be prioritised towards those yielding economic benefits.

It added that membership of such bodies is regularly reviewed.

Dr Myers said Ireland's links to multinational technology companies would likely see it win a share of €500m a year in contracts that CERN gives to industry.

Irish companies cannot compete for the contracts currently because Ireland is not a member.

He said he had previously spoken to Irish ministers and politicians about it.

To learn more about CERN you can read a special report by Will Goodbody here.