On Saturday morning last we had our September Council meeting with a very full attendance from around the country and a full Agenda.
For me, the two highlights of the meeting were the presentation by Tom Leahy of Dublin City Council on the joint Engineers Ireland/Irish Academy of Engineering submission to Government on the setting up of Irish Water and secondly the unanimous approval of Council to our Advertising Campaign for Chartered Engineer going live on TV, radio and social media in November of this year.
Tom Leahy is a wonderful presenter. He really brought the whole national infrastructural deficit in water alive for us in a most illustrative way. Our water supply scheme in
for instance dates from Victorian times so that it is close on 150 years old. When it was 100 years old in the 70s and 80s like the aging human, it needed urgent remedial work which it really didn't get as our EU Funding then went into 'playing catch up' with Dublin's expansion and massive regional development around our major cities and towns. Dublin
In the 80s and 90s water expenditure in
was going into the then new Western Towns of Blancherstown/Castleknock, Clondalkin/Lucan and Tallaght/Firhouse. At the same time both domestic rates and water charges were abolished for political reasons - both mindless crazy decisions at the time from which Local Government funding in Dublin never really recovered. Ireland
As Tom told us, you can imagine the state in which our Water Infrastructure is in now! It needs an urgent rescue and therefore the transfer of the infrastructural planning and implementation function to a new dedicated national water utility. This new body will have a commercial remit and the introduction of use related charges through metering is most welcome as a 'new start' in terms of funding.
The current system is broken and therefore does need fixing and soon. The Dublin water supply in particular is on a 'knife edge' supply wise as the recent harsh winters have shown and needs urgent addressing in terms of strong demand management, increased water conservation and development of a new major supply source from the Shannon basin.
The second presentation was jointly given by Margie McCarthy Membership Director and Fionnuala Kilbane Communications Director on the recent Membership Survey on our perceived deficits and how we will address them. Members surveyed say we need to increase our public profile and explain what is the role of the Chartered Engineer to the general public.
Well we are about to do just that as on Saturday we approved a 2 to 3 year campaign on TV, radio and social media to highlight the critical role that Chartered Engineers play in the Irish Economy.
To the music of 'This Land is Your Land This Land is My Land' the short TV advert will profile a selected cross section of our Member Engineers doing what we as a profession do - building new roads and bridges, prolonging human life in hospitals through biomedical engineering, building and maintaining our energy supplies, our water supply and manufacturing new electronic, computing and pharmaceutical products that make up the bulk of our exports. Expect to see the new campaign on your screens by middle of November!
The Council also took a decision to change the name of the 'ICT Division' in Engineers Ireland to the 'Computing Division' which makes a lot of sense as we want to show increased relevance and purpose to that growing sector of our economy.