Friday, 17 February 2012

Cork Region Annual Dinner

Last Friday night it was my pleasure to attend the Cork Region Annual Dinner together with John Power our Director General. Hosted by Cork Region Chairman Dr Jim Robinson we had Minister for Agriculture and Marine Simon Coveney as Special Guest and former University of Limerick President Ed Walsh as Guest Speaker.

We were also honoured by the presence of the Mayor of County Cork Cllr Tim Lombard and Cork City Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr John Kelleher. Among the guests also was the Cork County Engineer Noel O'Keeffe.

Pictured at Cork Region Dinner were 
P J Rudden President of Engineers Ireland, Simon Coveney Minister for Agriculture and the Marine and Dr Jim Robinson Chairman of the Cork Region of Engineers Ireland

There was an excellent attendance from the Region greatly helped I would say by the excellent venue - Maryborough House Hotel in Douglas, where the staff were attentive to a very noticeable degree - this venue will survive the recession no matter what!

The speeches were short and generally to the point. The Minister rightly decried the public and political 'who - ha' over household charges for domestic septic tanks, as if we have any choice but to protect the quality of our current and future water environment! He gave encouraging figures on our improving financial reputation on the European bond markets resulting from the necessary austerity measures taken in Ireland.

Ed Walsh was controversial in his remarks as usual, most of which I agreed with but I take issue with him on the value of the Public Service, the value of which cannot be underestimated. There is a constancy to the public service which is owned by the People and which I greatly admire. It is driven by long term public advantage and not driven by short term agendas which really don't serve the public interest.

In my response on behalf of Engineers Ireland I recognised the value of local industry in the Cork Region in the Pharma and Food sectors and the push on continued infrastructure development in the City Environs and County including the newly approved Lower Harbour Sewerage Scheme and new sewerage and flood relief schemes in Bandon and Skibbereen in particular.

I spoke about the need to fully develop the value of our ocean resources around the Irish coast and mentioned the recently published ISLES Report by the Irish NI and Scottish Governments as the seminal report on development of Ireland's ocean resources.  I looked forward to my visit to UCC the following week in this regard. 

I concluded by referring to my visit two nights previously to London where I met the Great Britain Region of Engineers Ireland led in part by Cork graduates and how proud I was of them developing new engineering enterprise in UK plc environments (e.g. Carillion plc) and academia (e.g. Imperial College London). Finally I referred to the fact that 5 out of 7 Excellence Awards went this year to the Cork Region.

The Cork Region is our strongest in Engineers Ireland (Dublin has no  'region' as such) and we continue to support the great work they are doing in the Region on their own initiative in Education, Continuing Professional Education and building our profile locally and nationally.

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