Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Presidential Address to DIT

On December 7th I was pleased to accept an invitation from the DIT Dean of Engineering Dr Mike Murphy to give my Presidential Address on 'Building a Sustainable Recovery' to the engineering school student body in Bolton St. I was accompanied by Julie Goggins Third Level Liaison Officer with Engineers Ireland who has been working actively with the DIT student body.

The President normally represents his Presidential Address to a number of the Regions throughout the year including the GB Region in London. This however was the first time where the Address was requested by a Third Level Engineering College - signs of the growing relationship between Engineers Ireland and Third Level.

It was also the first presentation of the Address since it was initially given in mid September. In reviewing it I was struck by the degree of update it required. The Address was quite current in terms of our ambitions in Engineers Ireland last September and much has been achieved in the intervening period thanks to the hard work by our Council, our Executive and the DG's team.

Two of our major ambitions in September were to finalise our Membership Rules and also to launch our new TV Advertising Campaign. Both were successfully achieved in the 3 month period to December.

There was a lively and very relevant 'question and answer' session after the Address mostly centring on the issue of Maths Education and also reform of the Planning system to fastrack critical infrastructure projects. We also spoke of DIT ambitions to integrate all of the current colleges on a new single campus at Grangegorman which is a very exciting project and as you can see below will transform a greater part of the north inner city between the Phoenix Park and the River Liffey.

Model of New DIT Grangegorman Campus
Courtesy of www.merrionstreet.ie

I repeat below the relevant sentences from the Address that gave rise to the questions from the students

'The overall objective is to build a sustainable recovery and a solid future for our people. That's means looking beyond the immediate crisis that we face as a country and start building a long term vibrant economy that will last into the future'.

'The current maths situation in Ireland is a systemic failure in the educational system at national level. The student must always be at the centre of the educational system but the quality of an educational system can never exceed the quality of its teachers'.

'Modern building and infrastructural developments now need to be 'plan led' not 'developer led'. Planning decisions made by An Bord Pleanala need to be respected as meeting a national or strategic need regardless of any NIMBY or local considerations'.

After my Address Julie spoke to the student body of the benefits of membership of Engineers Ireland and of the support service which she has in place to answer any of the queries that the students may have.

We were very grateful for the very large number of students and indeed lecturers who turned up for the event. The largest lecture theatre in Bolton Street - named the Michael O'Donnell Room after one of my predecessors as President of Engineers Ireland - was practically full of people for the Address which was organised at relatively short notice.

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