08 Jun 11 News Ireland


‘A visionary who has never been afraid to speak up for what he believes in and expose what he believes to be ineffective and wrong’

NUI Maynooth today conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering on Eddie O Connor, one of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs. Dr O’ Connor received his Honorary Doctorate from Professor Tom Collins, President, NUI Maynooth, who described him as ‘a visionary who has made a major contribution to the renewable energy sector globally and has never been afraid to speak up for what he believes in and expose what he believes to be ineffective and wrong’.

Eddie O’ Connor is founder and Chief Executive of Mainstream Renewable Power, a global leader in wind and solar power energy which has grown to become Europe’s leading offshore wind developer after just three years in business. Eddie has been at the forefront of Irish business for more than a quarter of a century and he was central to the deregulation of the energy market and State sector businesses in Ireland.  He served in a number of management positions in the ESB and as Chief Executive of Bord Na Móna. Having departed from Bord Na Móna in 1996, Eddie established Airtricity, Ireland’s first wind farm development company, which he subsequently sold for nearly €2 billion.

Eddie is recognised as the driving force behind the European Offshore Supergrid project, which aims to connect all countries and facilitate 50% of Europe’s electricity coming from wind power by 2050. Mainstream Renewable Power has forged strong ties with NUI Maynooth, particularly through its growing involvement in the Innovation Value Institute (IVI), having adopted the IVI systems to its IT strategy.

Speaking at the conferral, Professor Tom Collins, President, NUI Maynooth said “NUI Maynooth is delighted to honour Eddie O’ Connor, Mary Cullen, Joe Brosnan and David Little. 

“Eddie O’ Connor is an example of how entrepreneurial spirit, foresight and hard work can lead to great success globally. Instead of sitting back after the sale of Airtricity, Eddie forged on to set up a new venture, which has rapidly developed into a highly successful global company. An outspoken advocate of renewable energy, Eddie has made a significant impact on the sector globally. NUI Maynooth is proud to have close links with Eddie and Mainstream Renewable Power through the Innovation Value Institute, and our organisations have worked closely together sharing a common passion for sustainability.

“Mary Cullen has played an active role in asserting women’s rights in Ireland, especially in the area of education. Joe Brosnan dedicated most of his working life to public service and through his expertise he has contributed greatly in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Europe. David Little has conducted groundbreaking research in the area of linguistics and has enjoyed an outstanding academic career”, said Professor Collins.

NUI Maynooth has been Ireland’s fast growing University in recent years, doubling in size to over 8,000 students since 2004.  Postgraduate student numbers have increased by more than 50% to 1,800 and average entrance points have risen from 397 to 425.