Thursday, 8 December 2011

Chairman's Reception in Cavan County Council

On November 25th I travelled to my native county where Cavan County Council decided to give me a Chairman's Reception. They have the view - not apparently contested by the Archivist in Engineers Ireland - that I'm the first Cavan born President of Engineers Ireland.

Whether true or not I have worked in the past and currently in a consultancy capacity for Cavan County Council most notably on the N3 Belturbet Aghalane Road Project which reopened the N3 Dublin Enniskillen Road after the Good Friday Agreement. I had the pleasure of meeting Senator George Mitchell who opened the new Aghalane Bridge at the Border - then named the George Mitchell Bridge in his honour.

Senator George Mitchell and PJ Rudden (1999)
Beside the Bridge stands the artistic feature of the warrior returning home and embracing his loved one with a broken sword and shield on the ground between them. The caption on the feature says 'Welcome Home - the War is Over'. On that day when the bridge was opened by Senator Mitchell in 1999 nobody knew for sure if the war was in fact over or not. It took ten more years to fully secure that Peace which was a monumental achievement of the NI political parties chaired by Senator Mitchell.

That was my first job with Cavan County Council. This new road project was progressed in record time due to its national and international significance and I was glad to be part of it. Its speed of execution was also a tribute to then County Manager the late Brian Johnson then County Engineer John Tiernan and Senior Roads Engineer Ger Finn. I have since worked with the Council mainly on the development and implementation of the North East Waste Management Plan together with Meath Louth and Monaghan.

I am very grateful to the Chairman of Cavan County Council Cllr Sean McKiernan and to County Manager Jack Keyes for the honour accorded me. I was presented with a painting by P J Lynch from the Johnson Library of 'A Voyage to Lilliput' which now hangs in Engineers Ireland at 22 Clyde Road for the rest of my term as President. I'm not sure what the significance is of the giant Gulliver arriving in Lilliput with shadows of civic and church buildings of Cavan in the background but it’s a beautiful painting which I will treasure forever. I was also thankful for the presence of Local Councillors Dessie Boylan, Charlie Boylan and Paddy Conaty.

Pictured in the Cavan County Council Chamber front Catheoirleach Cllr Sean McKiernan, P J Rudden President of Engineers Ireland, Celia Rudden ; back Jack Keyes Cavan County Manager, Maura Daly Chairman North East Region Engineers Ireland and John Power Director General Engineers Ireland
 Cavan County Council this year won the Local Authority of the Year award and the Engineers Ireland Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Public Service award for best public body on staff development and training. This is a great tribute to County Manager Jack Keyes who also led the Organising Committee for Fleadh Cheoil na h√Čireann for a second successive year and again planned in 2012. This 3 year event will have brought a total new investment of €120million and a footfall of 250,000 each year to a small town of 10,000 people. You can then imagine how delighted I was that such a leading and enterprising Local Authority might have chosen me for their inaugural Chairman's Reception.

I was delighted that Engineers Ireland Director General John Power was there in Cavan together with Maura Daly Chairman of North East Region of Engineers Ireland together with John Brannigan Cavan County Council and last year's Chairman, also John Quinn, Dave McGowan and Paddy O'Rourke from County Meath. Also present were many current engineers of Cavan County Council including the Cavan Town Manager Ger Finn another very active engineer of the NE Region and who acted as Master of Ceremonies on the night.

I was honoured also by the presence of Dr Liam McNiffe Principal of St Patricks College and Donal Donahue Principal of Laragh National School. Also the Chairperson of the Board of Management in Laragh NS Bernie Power was there together with many family, friends and former classmates from both Laragh and St Pats.

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