AGM sees Dermot Byrne inaugurated as new Engineers Ireland president
14 June 2016
Immediate past president Bill Grimson (left) passes the chain of office to Dermot Byrne, 2016 president
Engineers Ireland is set to be a vocal advocate for the progressive shift towards a carbon-free society, according to new president, Dermot Byrne. The organisation’s expertise, gathered from 23,000 engineers across every discipline of the sector, is vital to the planning and delivery of strategic national infrastructure, he said. Engineers Ireland should play “an active and constructive role” in many aspects of Government policy making, especially with regard to energy and climate change.
Byrne was speaking at the Engineers Ireland 2016 Annual General Meeting, which took place this week (31 May). On the night, a fond farewell was also bid to the 2015 president, Bill Grimson – who represented the organisation and its members so ably over the past year – and the results of the Council Elections were declared for the upcoming three-year term.
In his final speech as president of Engineers Ireland, Grimson reviewed the four major items addressed in the past year by the organisation:
- Vision and values strategy;
- Policy formation; and
- Regulation of the profession.
He outlined how the governance work looked at the terms of reference for all major units and the establishment of some new committees (e.g. dealing with internal audit and risk). “The culmination of this work will be a handbook explaining in sufficient detail the obligations and duties of relevant participants at all the necessary levels starting with Council,” Grimson explained.
“Various groups and meetings have reviewed Engineers Ireland’s vision and values, and are working towards a re-statement of our strategy,” he continued. “A very positive report from Regions and Divisions on the development and formulation of policy will, in time, enable Engineers Ireland to have a comprehensive set of policies on relevant current topics of concern.” The outgoing president added that the question of regulation of the profession was complex and not without strong advocates on both sides. The resolution of what was best for Engineers Ireland – and for society, too – might take some time to reach, he added.
Grimson offered a heartfelt thanks to the Officers, Executive, Council, members and the Secretariat for their help and support during his presidency. He concluded by congratulating Engineers Ireland director general Caroline Spillane on her first year in office. “I also wish Dermot the very best in what I’m sure will be an outstanding presidency,” he added.
Presidential invitation to Fellowship of Engineers Ireland
Presidential invitation to Fellowship of Engineers Ireland was extended by Grimson to Ann-Marie Holmes on the night. Until recently, mechanical engineer Holmes was the factory manager of Intel’s Fab 24 advanced manufacturing facility, located in Leixlip, Co Kildare. In January, she became the latest Irish woman to be appointed as a vice president of Intel’s technology and manufacturing group, a significant endorsement of the contribution of Irish talent to Intel.
The full list of presidential nominations for Fellow in the past year are as follows:
For CEng FIEI (all meet academic standard for CEng MIEI)
- Ann-Marie Holmes, VP of the Technology & Manufacturing Group, Intel Corporation
BA BAI Trinity College Dublin 1991
- Dr John Kennedy, MD, CAPTEC (Computer Applied Techniques Ltd)
BA BAI Trinity College Dublin 1984, PhD Computer Science, University of Genoa, 1990
- Capt Michael Malone, Department of Defence Naval Service, Officer Commanding Naval Support Command
National Diploma Marine Engineering, Cork IT, 1985
Engineering Council Part 2 Examinations 2003
MA Leadership Management & Defence Studies, NUI Maynooth, 2006
- John Stack, CEO, Murphy Group London (retired)
BE UCC 1981
For FIEI (Hon)
- Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland
- Prof John Heywood, Professorial fellow Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin
Licentiate of the College of Preceptors, 1962
MLitt, University of Lancaster, 1969
MA, UCD, Litt D, UCD, both 1976
MSc UCD 1994
New Engineers Ireland president
In his inauguration speech, new Engineers Ireland president Dermot Byrne paid tribute to his predecessor Bill Grimson for his “amazing work as president” and for his enormous contribution over the past two decades in roles such as chair of both the CPD Standing Committee and the Membership & Qualifications Board. Byrne welcomed Peter Quinn as incoming vice president and said he looked forward to working with him and with VP Dr Kieran Feighan over the coming year.
Civil engineer Quinn is a director of PG Quinn Ltd. He is a former treasurer, secretary and chair of the Northern Region and has been an enthusiastic contributor to the Executive Board since 2012. He has been an interviewer and a mentor to applicants for the chartered engineer title for many years.
The new president has already been working with the director general and Council, among others, in developing a strategy to guide Engineers Ireland for the next three years. “Our strategy needs to strongly reflect the feedback we’ve received through our extensive consultations up and down the country with members and stakeholders,” he said. Themes emerging from the process so far centre on the concepts of ‘innovation’, ‘inspiration’, ‘integration’ and ‘celebration’, he added.
“We’re being encouraged by our members and stakeholders to focus and prioritise our efforts on significant initiatives of relevance such as ensuring that:
- We inspire our children from the very earliest age to consider engineering as a career;
- Our academic institutions work with industry, to ensure the engineers of the future have a full range of relevant skills;
- We support, recognise and celebrate the important role that apprentices, technicians and professional engineers continue to make to our economic recovery;
- We promote and enhance the profile, value and contribution of the profession;
- We support our members, to ensure their capabilities keep pace with the current standards of others in the same field through CPD activities, and
- That we encourage engineers to contribute to solving major societal issues, in Ireland and in the developing world.”
On this last point, Byrne reflected on his position as chair of the board of VITA, an Irish development agency in East Africa (principally Ethiopia and Eritrea), working to alleviate poverty and the effects of climate change. “I’ve seen at first hand the struggle that families in the developing world have to put food on the table, to have clean water to drink, to educate their children and to live sustainably in their environments.
“Many Irish engineers are working overseas to make a difference,” he continued. “In the context of a theme of ‘celebration’, I’d like over the coming year to recognise and celebrate their contribution; likewise to celebrate the work of engineers in our armed forces, especially the work of the Navy in saving so many lives in the Mediterranean – and perhaps to ‘inspire’ more engineers to get involved in this important work.”
Other AGM business and new Council
After a minute’s silence was held to remember deceased members of the profession who died during the past year, the minutes of the 2015 AGM were approved. The auditor’s report and the financial statement for the calendar year 2015 were also approved, and the Annual Report was adopted. The motion was passed “that Council be authorised to determine the rates of annual subscription to be applied for the year 2017”.
Acting as scrutineer, the chair of the Finance Committee, Murt Coleman, presented the results of the Council Elections and declared the members elected to Council for the three-year term 2016-17 to 2018-19. From a total of 729 votes (651 of which were valid), the following were elected:
- Elina Bychkova;
- John Coleman;
- Robert Dowdall;
- Colm Ennis;
- Pat Healy;
- Jim Leahy;
- Sean Lenihan;
- Paul Murphy.