Michael McGrath TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform
Michael is currently a TD for Cork South Central and is the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
Michael grew up in the harbour town of Passage West in County Cork. Before entering national politics, Michael served in local government as a member of Passage West Town Council and Cork County Council (Carrigaline electoral area). He was elected to Dáil Éireann at the first attempt in 2007 and has been re-elected in every election since (2011, 2016 and 2020).
Michael secured a first-class honours Commerce degree in UCC and went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in Cork City. Before going into politics full time, Michael held senior positions in both the private sector (Financial Controller, RedFM)
Clare Cashin, Construction Law Partner, Philip Lee
Clare is a graduate of law at University College Cork, a qualified solicitor and has practiced in construction law for over 20 years. She is a partner in commercial law firm Philip Lee (www.philiplee.ie) advising employers, contractors, designers, public authorities and private entities.
Clare specialises in construction disputes, working with high value complex disputes in the construction and procurement arena. She has acted for state authorities on large scale national infrastructure projects, from roads to schools to hospitals and is adept at managing complex construction projects. Clare also has particular expertise in regulatory construction law; she lectures in Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. She sits on the committee of the Health & Safety Lawyers Association of Ireland. Industry guides refer to her “phenomenal attention to detail”, “personable approach” and say that her “ability to distil complex disputes into a clear legal strategy is first class”. Clare is recognised by global ratings agency Chambers and she is ranked by The Legal 500 in their construction lawyer rankings for Ireland. She is a regular contributor to articles and periodicals in the construction arena.
Catherine Sheridan, Chief Operations Officer, EIH2
Catherine Sheridan is the Chief Operations Officer with EIH2, Ireland’s first green hydrogen production company. Her focus is on energy system integration and the role for green hydrogen in supporting Ireland and Europe achieve Net Zero 2050. Prior to joining EIH2, Catherine worked with public utilities in engineering and commercial roles, and more recently in communications, stakeholder engagement and energy policy. Catherine was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from NUI Galway in 1998, Master’s degree from UCC in 2001, and titles of Chartered Engineer and Fellow from Engineers Ireland in 2009 and 2018, respectively. She is on the board of Cork Chamber and a council member of Wind Energy Ireland.
Conor O’Connell, Director of Housing, Construction Industry Federation of Ireland (CIF)
Conor O’Connell is Director of Housing at the Construction Industry Federation. Conor joined the CIF in 2001 and has worked in several roles within the CIF representing members and industry issues to a wide variety of industry stakeholders. Conor is also the Secretary of the Regional Development Committee of the CIF and is responsible for the development of CIF Regional Development Policy as well as stakeholder engagement on construction policy issues across Government Departments, Semi-State Agencies, Local Authorities, Politicians and various regional bodies. Conor is a strong advocate for the role of the construction industry in regional development through the provision of infrastructure. Conor holds a mix of qualifications in Business, Law, Industrial Relations and prior to his current role he worked extensively in employee relations in the construction sector.
Appointed to the role of Chair of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) Cork region in February 2022, Gerard is Managing Director and Co-Founder of Weltec Engineering. Established in Waterford in 2000, Weltec has grown steadily in size and reputation as a leading mechanical, electrical and process engineering and contracting company. With 30 years’ experience in the engineering and construction industry, Ger has been instrumental in the development of Weltec as a market leader in its field. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from CIT and a Master’s in Business Administration from UCC. Throughout his professional career, Ger has been involved with the Construction Industry Federation, sitting on the Cork branch executive for 15 years. During this time, he has gained strong knowledge of the local construction industry and the challenges it faces, while simultaneously gaining insights at national policy level as a member of the CIF National Executive. Ger was also a past Chairperson of the Mechanical & Electrical Contractors Association.
Dave Coakley, Director, Coakley O’Neill Town Planning
Dave qualified as a town planner from the University of West England in 2005, and holds the qualifications of BA (Hons), MPhil, MTCP, MIPI, and has worked in the public and private sector in Cork since 2001. Dave has a particular expertise in the development planning process and has led on the preparation of Integrated Area Plans, Local Area Plans, including the North Docks Local Area Plan, and Action Area Plans , and planning policy advisor on internal Part 8 applications and part of the LOTS team and Part V Implementation Team while at Cork City Council. In private practice, Dave was the principal planner for the Cork Area Strategic Plan (CASP) update in 2008. He co-founded Coakley O’Neill Town Planning Ltd with Aiden O’Neill, and has since advised on commercial, infrastructural, energy, sporting, retail and brownfield land redevelopment projects, including SID, SHD and oral hearings, of varying scales, including strategic masterplanning, energy planning, waste infrastructure, residential development, policy submissions, initial planning appraisals, applications, appeals, enforcement, and advocacy work.
Fearghal Reidy, Director of Service, Cork City Council
Fearghal has almost 30 years public and private sector experience in local economic development and reform. He has worked in local economic development in Kildare, Donegal and Waterford. While with DTZ he was key author of local economic strategies in Ireland and internationally. As Assistant Chief Executive with the Local Government Management Agency Fearghal was responsible for overseeing a number of reform initiatives in the local government sector. Fearghal joined Cork City Council in 2019 as Director of Strategic and Economic Development. He oversaw preparation of the City Development Plan and sourced significant funding for regeneration across the city. He is also playing a leading role in Climate Action. Fearghal holds a Master’s in Business Studies from NUIG and a Masters in Economic Science (1st Class) from UCD.
Michael is responsible for overseeing service delivery in one of the largest planning directorates in the State and for managing a multi-disciplinary team including Development Management, the Housing Infrastructure Implementation Team, Heritage, Ecology and the Sustainable Transport Unit that will oversee delivery of the NTA active travel programme in County Cork. Currently overseeing the County Development Plan Review process, which will provide for the incorporation of the 9 former Town Council Plans and 8 Municipal District Local Area Plans into an overall County Development Plan, Michael is tasked with ensuring there is a sustainable approach with local articulation to the planned delivery of the National Planning Frameworks ambitious population, employment and housing growth targets in Cork County. Prior to joining Cork County Council, he was Assistant Director with the Southern Regional Assembly and has previously worked for County Councils in Tipperary, Cork, Waterford and Clare.
Barry is Group Head of Sustainability for PM Group. He is responsible for leading and developing PM Group’s environmental sustainability strategy for all global office operations and marketplace client services. He is responsible for driving transformational change in environmental sustainability areas of PM Groups corporate responsibility programme. These areas include decarbonising our global office operations, developing leading marketplace sustainability solutions for our clients and embedding these sustainable and ethical values into our supply chain.
Barry has specialist expertise in developing strategic sustainability framework plans, renewable energy systems and water management.
Barry holds a PhD in environmental engineering and is a certified sustainability assessor.
Eamon Judge graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor’s (Hons) in Chemical Engineering and joined Eli Lilly, Kinsale, Cork , Ireland in 1980. In the 1980s he held management roles in sterile & bulk API production and solvent recovery, environmental and utility support functions. During the mid 1990s, Eamon relocated to Eli Lilly’s Corporate Headquarters in Indianapolis, US and held several leadership roles completing an Engineering Masters at Purdue University.
In the late 90s , Eamon returned to Ireland and became a Site Senior Leadership Team member as head of production and in subsequent decades he held Director level positions in HSE , Manufacturing IT and Automation, Supply Chain Operations and Engineering. In 2016 Eamon moved to the Global Engineering function and in recent years has been responsible for strategic planning for over $1b of capital investments and is currently a Senior Director in Lilly’s Global Engineering Function .
Eamon represented Eli Lilly for many years on the Council of BioPharmaChem Ireland, the industry association representing the biopharma sector in Ireland. Up to 2021 he was President of the Ireland Affiliate of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), Chair of the ISPE European Affiliate Board and led the life sciences COVID Alliance response. Eamon has been an external examiner for Cork Institute of Technology and a Board of Management Chair for two primary schools for over 12 years. Eamon has a passion for working with young people – from being a Scout Leader to acting as a STEM coach in local schools for the past 20 years.
Stephen McCarthy, Director, Astra Construction
Astra Construction was founded by Stephen over 34 years ago. He has concentrated the business in the Carrigaline area in Cork and has built over 2,000 homes. Stephen’s in-depth knowledge of the house building industry and personal tenacity brought the company through the last recession which resulted in the successful completion of a development of 400 houses in Forest Hill, Carrigaline. His company is now in the process of building its largest development to datecomprising 950 homes in Janeville on the Cork Road in Carrigaline. Stephen is actively involved with Homebond and the CIF, at a local and national level and has held various positions within these organisations including Director and Past Chairman of Homebond, Past Chairman of Irish House Builders Association (IHBA), Past Chairman of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) Cork branch, Current Chairman of the Irish House Builders Association (IHBA) Cork branch and Member of the National Executive of the Irish House Builders Association (IHBA)
Parag Joglekar, Head of Development, Respond
Parag Joglekar is Head of Development with Respond. He is a registered Architect in Ireland and the UK. He holds a Master’s degree in Architecture (distinction) from University of Leuven, Belgium and a Post Graduate Diploma (distinction) in Real Estate Investment Finance from Oxford Brookes University (UK). Parag is a member of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) in the UK. Parag has worked in both the private and semi-private sector in Ireland, UK and India. He has extensive experience of over 25 years in Urban Design, Private and Public Housing, Regeneration, Commercial projects, Risk & Asset Management in addition to managing design & construction contracts.
Parag joined Respond in 2001 and currently leads a multi-disciplinary Development team of 20 construction professionals. He is tasked with delivering Respond’s current development pipeline with an investment value of just over € 1.5 billion. In addition to leading business development, managing client relationships, Parag is responsible for developing strategic partnerships across the private and public sector to deliver long term sustainable developments. Parag has been a guest speaker at a number of housing led events hosted by the private, public and voluntary sector.
Frank Kelly, President, Construction Industry Federation of Ireland (CIF)
Frank Kelly is a Construction Director at Walls Construction. Frank has more than twenty-five years’ industry experience having joined Walls Construction in 1992 as a site engineer progressing to contracts manager and to his current position of Construction Director. He has worked across a diverse range of sectors including commercial, retail, pharmaceutical, healthcare, residential, fit-out, industrial and education. Frank has been responsible for the delivery of some landmark projects like Trinity Biosciences on Pearse Street and the recently completed Central Bank on North Wall Quay. Frank has been actively involved in the CIF since 2008 and sits on a number of the advisory committees to the executive body including chair of the Safety & Health Committee. His standing in the Irish construction sector was recognised by his recent term as President of the Master Builders and Contractors Association.
Stephen Griffin, , Site Services Director Boston Scientific Cork
Stephen Griffin is the Site Services Director at Boston Scientific Cork with responsibility for EHS, Facilities and Equipment. He joined Boston Scientific in 2016 as Director of Production and has also held the role of Engineering Director for several years before taking up this current role.
Stephen started his career in the ESB as a power generation Engineer and subsequently spent 17 years in MSD Brinny where he held several leadership roles in Engineering, Capital Projects and Manufacturing Operations. Stephen graduated with a B Eng (Electronics) from MTU Cork. He is married to Áine and has a daughter Kelly and two sons, Jack and Tom. Outside of work, his main interests are Rugby, Adventure racing and guitar.
Jonathan Healy, Broadcaster
After graduating with a degree in law from University College Cork, Jonathan Healy worked in radio, television and online media for two decades.He has been a presenter with Newstalk 106-108fm and a senior correspondent with Sky News, with his work featuring prominently on both stations.
Jonathan also has experience working with TV3, RTE, FM104, The Cork Independent and Cork’s 96fm.
Having conducted thousands of interviews with people from all walks of Irish life, he is a skilled interviewer and proven cross-platform content creator with extensive contacts across politics, business and public relations throughout the country.
Jonathan is also a proven event facilitator and engaging MC. He has also delivered high impact voice-over work for corporate videos and campaigns. In a shifting world of communications, he can help make your story stand out and ensure your message is heard.
Michael is the Chairman and CEO of the O’Flynn Group. Established in 1978, as a house building company and which progressed into one of the largest property development companies in Ireland. O’Flynn Group has extensive investment, development, and asset management capability in the core property sectors (especially residential, student accommodation, offices, industrial and retail). The Group has an established and strong reputation overseas particularly in the UK and in Europe. It also has expertise in property backed operating businesses such as student accommodation.
Michael is actively involved in representing the policy objectives of the property sector in Ireland. He is a founding member of Property Industry Ireland and is a former Chairman of the Cork branch of the Construction Industry Federation. He was also recently appointed to the Irish Housing Commission.
David Purdon, Technical Director, Autodesk Division, Diatec Group
David has been providing training and consultancy services for Design and 3D software since 1994. He transitioned to the Autodesk Channel in 2000 as a Technical Specialist while expanding into IT, Cloud and Virtualisation. David is a qualified & accredited Autodesk technical specialist for Revit, 3DS Max, Autodesk Cloud/BIM 360 platform and is certified in BIM through RICS. Now as Technical Director at The Diatec Group, David’s primary focus is helping clients across the AEC sector with their technology implementation to enable BIM & Digital Project Delivery Requirements.
Ronan Murphy, Construction Manager, Amarenco
Ronan Murphy is the Construction Manager for Amarenco Group in Ireland (www.amarencogroup.com). Ronan is responsible for the delivery of the Group’s portfolio of Ground Mounted Solar PV projects in Ireland, including 13 projects which have secured RESS (Renewable Energy Support Scheme) contracts.Ronan has over 15 years’ experience in the development, design and construction of Renewable Generation and Utility Infrastructure. Prior to joining Amarenco in 2021, Ronan’s background included Project Management, Contract Management and Engineering roles with ESB Networks and ESB International. Ronan has been awarded a BE in Electrical Engineering by UCC, MSc in Electrical Power Systems from the University of Bath and the title of Chartered Engineer by Engineer’s Ireland.
Joe Seymour in a Chartered Civil Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Ireland and Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation (UK) and is currently the Head of Active Travel Investment within the National Transport Authority (NTA), managing a portfolio of approximately €300million per year. Joe has 30 years’ experience in designing and delivering complex sustainable transport projects on urban streets, in Ireland, UK, Middle East and Africa.
Noel is a member of the MSD GES (Global Engineering Solutions) EMEA team delivering a large capital portfolio across the region. As GES Delivery Area Director, he is currently responsible for the delivery of the portfolio at the MSD Brinny and Carlow sites. Noel was awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Cork MTU in 2000 and has over 20 years’ experience within the pharmaceutical industry. Through his 11 years at MSD Noel has covered roles across Engineering, including Maintenance, Facilities Management, Energy and Project Delivery. Prior to MSD, Noel has worked with both Jacobs Engineering and Pfizer, holding roles in Process Engineering and Operations respectively.
David Skene, Procurement Lead, Capital Delivery Programmes, Department of Education
David is a Chartered Civil Engineer with over 30 years of private and public service experience in the delivery of Civil and Building Infrastructure in both Ireland and the UK. His portfolio includes the design of over 50 bridges across our various motorway networks, public buildings including local government offices, leisure centres and libraries, second and third level educational facilities, office developments and retail.
As procurement lead for the Department of Education Planning and Building Unit in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, David’s role involves the strategic coordination of procurement delivery within Professional and Technical services to support the delivery of the DoE`s €4.4bn Capital Building Programme identified in the National Development Plan period 2021-2025.
Tom Parlon, Director General, CIF
Before joining the CIF, Tom served as a TD for Laois – Offaly and as Minister for State at the Department of Finance from 2002 until 2007. As Minister he was responsible for the Office for Public Works (OPW).
From 1997 to 2001, Tom was President of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), having previously held several other positions with the association.
He is from Coolderry in Co. Offaly.