Wednesday, 21 December 2011

ICE Annual Dinner in Belfast

I travelled north to Belfast on December 8th to the Europa Hotel Belfast to attend the Annual Dinner of the Northern Region of the Institution of Civil Engineers (London). I was kindly invited by Ian Long the Northern Region Chairman of ICE.

I also met the ICE President Richard Coackley who is Director of Energy with URS Scott Wilson. His central message to his members was to say that Northern Ireland has a unique opportunity to develop wind and tidal energy sources due to its coastal location. We must drive down our carbon emissions while at the same time keeping the lights on and ensuring quality of life, he said.

‘As civil engineers' he said 'we have the ability to help policymakers understand how to meet society's infrastructure needs, taking into consideration the wider natural, social and environmental impacts.' I quite agree with him and look forward to his visit to Dublin in late January when he will present his Presidential Address to the Republic of Ireland branch of ICE. I will then make a reciprocal visit to Richard in London in early February when I will present my Presidential Address to the GB Region of Engineers Ireland at ICE Headquarters.

There were some 450 local ICE members at the Annual Dinner in Belfast. I was very happy to again meet our own Northern Region Chairman Peter Quinn and former Chairman Jonathan Hegan a former colleague director in RPS and now Chairman of the Titanic Trust responsible for regeneration of the old Harland & Wolff shipyards into the new Titanic Quarter. Peter is also chairman of the Organising Committee for our Annual Conference in Europa Belfast on April 26th / 27th next.

I was also delighted to meet Dr Gordon Millington for the first time who was the only NI based President of Engineers Ireland (1997 - 1998) then Senior Partner of Kirk McClure Morton and now the Belfast office of RPS.

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