Our Speakers

Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science

Simon is a native of County Wicklow and has been involved in the community all his life.
Simon first became involved in politics through his work as a disability advocate. Before entering politics, Simon established the Wicklow Triple A Alliance, a charity to support children and families affected by Autism. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann in the 2011 General Election and was the youngest member of the 31st Dáil. During that Dáil term, Simon served as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Secretary of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party and Co-Convenor of the Oireachtas Cross Party Group on Mental Health, before being appointed in July 2014 as Minister of State in the Departments of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of the Taoiseach with Special Responsibility for OPW, Public Procurement and International Banking (including IFSC).

Simon was re-elected as TD for Wicklow and East Carlow in the February 2016 General Election and subsequently appointed Minister for Health.

Michael McGrath, TD, Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform

Michael is currently a TD for Cork South Central and is the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. He grew up in the harbour town of Passage West in County Cork. Before entering national politics, Michael served in local government as a member of Passage West Town Council and Cork County Council (Carrigaline electoral area). He was elected to Dáil Éireann at the first attempt in 2007 and has been re-elected in every election since (2011, 2016 and 2020).

Michael secured a first-class honours Commerce degree in UCC and went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in Cork City. Before going into politics full time, Michael held senior positions in both the private sector (Financial Controller, RedFM) and public sector (Head of MIS, UCC). He is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland and has served on that body’s Audit, Risk and Finance Committee. Michael has also undertaken studies with the London School of Economics and Political Science.

In his time in the Dáil, Michael has served on a number of Oireachtas committees including the Finance Committee, the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry, the European Affairs Committee and the Public Accounts Committee.
As Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael is responsible for delivering well-managed and well-targeted public spending, through modernised, effective and accountable public services. The department oversees the implementation of the National Development Plan, drives the programme of public service reform, and has a key role in decisions made across government.

Eoin Gillard, Head of Public Transport Investment, National Transport Authority

Eoin is a Chartered Engineer with 20+ years experience in delivering major capital projects in the public and private sector. Since 2009 Eoin has worked across the public sector in the Railway Procurement Agency, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and National Transport Authority focusing on the planning, design, procurement and delivery of all modes of public transport and National Roads infrastructure.

Niall Gleeson, Managing Director, Irish Water

 Niall has been MD of Irish Water since August 2019. He joined the company from Shanahan Engineering where he held the role of Senior Director based in Hong Kong. Prior to this, Niall was Managing Director of Veolia Ireland, which built and currently operates 30 water and wastewater treatment plants on behalf of Irish Water and other clients. Before that, he was Managing Director of Alstom Ltd where he was responsible for maintenance on the Dublin Luas light rail system. Niall holds a degree in engineering from DIT Bolton St, Dublin

Joanne Cluxton, Group HR Director, Mercury

Joanne is responsible for leading and managing the HR Team to support almost 3,000 employees in over 10 different countries across Ireland, UK, and continental Europe. Joanne’s current role covers all aspects of Human Resources for the Group including Leadership Development, Talent Management, Succession Planning, Labour Relations, Employment Law Compliance, Employee Relations, Training & Development, Compensation and Performance Management.

David Moloney, Secretary General, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Prior to his current role David was head of the Labour Market and Enterprise Division of the Department, with responsibility for various expenditure areas including Social Protection, Housing, Enterprise and Agriculture and for the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES).
Over the course of his career in the Civil Service, David has also served in the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Finance and the Department of Health.

Mark McGreevy, Chief Commercial Officer, Sisk Group

 Mark has responsibility for the business’s commercial affairs and strategy in Ireland, UK and internationally. A chartered QS, Mark has over 28 years industry experience and has held several senior positions across the business during that time. He is also an active member in various industry forums.

John Downey BA, MRUP, MBA, Dip. Law (kings Inns) MRTPI MIPI, Director, Downey Planning

John Downey is the Managing Director of DOWNEY, a leading multi-disciplinary practice of Town Planners, Architects, Landscape Architects and Project Managers. John is a chartered town planner with over 25 years’ experience in planning & development within both the private and public sectors.

John is a specialist in planning applications, inter alia, planning procedures and the procurement of all planning applications through the various planning processes including S.34 applications, SHD (Strategic Housing Development) applications and the new LRD process. Though his firm they have lodged in excess of 10,000 units in the last three years and have around 850 units currently being constructed on site. They also carry out various analytic / GIS research including Housing Core Strategies for Local Authorities.

John has lectured in both the School of Planning and the School of Real Estate in TU Dublin on all planning matters.
He has also been heavily involved within the profession itself within advisory roles to Government including advising The Oireachtas (2014) and The Department of Finance (2015/20). He was part of the Advisory Group for the National Planning Framework (2017) and was on the expert panel for the formulation of the Design Standards for New Apartments – Guidelines for Planning Authorities (March 2018).
He is currently an outgoing Board Member on the ECTP-CEU (European Council of Spatial Planners) and was a former Chair of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Ireland, in addition to being the first Irish delegate elected as a corporate member of the General Assembly of the Royal Town Planning Institute in London.

Prof Jamie Goggins, Director, National Construction Technology Centre

The Centre brings together 22 multidisciplinary research groups across 5 partner institutions, with over 300 researchers currently research active on topics related to construction and the built environment. Jamie is a Chartered Engineer with more than 20 years of experience in consultancy, construction, expert advisory work and research on many projects worldwide. Within the University of Galway, he is Professor of Civil Engineering, Director of Research & Innovation in the School of Engineering and has also led the development and delivery of the first two sustainability strategies for the university in his role as Chair of CUSP. He is also a Principal Investigator in the SFI MaREI Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, which includes 13 universities, approximately 220 researchers and 50 industry partners. Within MaREI, Jamie leads the materials and structures research group. He has been lead principal investigator on over 50 research projects in the past 12 years, most in collaboration with industry. Jamie is on the Board of the Civil Engineering Research Association of Ireland (CERAI) and is former President and Chairman of the CERAI Board. He is also actively involved in Engineers Ireland serving as elected member of Council (2016-2020), and a term as Chairman for the West region, and continues to serve on the West Region committee for more than 10 years. Further information at http://www.nuigalway.ie/structures/

Frank Kelly, President, Construction Industry Federation of Ireland (CIF)

 Frank Kelly is a Construction Director at Walls Construction. Frank has more than twenty-five years’ industry experience having joined Walls Construction in 1992 as a site engineer progressing to contracts manager and to his current position of Construction Director. He has worked across a diverse range of sectors including commercial, retail, pharmaceutical, healthcare, residential, fit-out, industrial and education. Frank has been responsible for the delivery of some landmark projects like Trinity Biosciences on Pearse Street and the recently completed Central Bank on North Wall Quay. Frank has been actively involved in the CIF since 2008 and sits on several the advisory committees to the executive body including chair of the Safety & Health Committee. His standing in the Irish construction sector was recognised by his recent term as President of the Master Builders and Contractors Association.

Dr Mary-Liz Trant, Director of the National Apprenticeship Office (NAO)

Mary-Liz is the first person to be appointed to the role for a new body jointly established by SOLAS and the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to implement the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025. Prior to heading up the NAO, Mary-Liz was Executive Director for skills development in SOLAS. She also held senior posts in the HEA, leading on enterprise engagement, Springboard+ and equity of access to higher education. A teacher by profession, earlier in her career Mary-Liz taught at second and third-level and worked with early school leavers. She holds a doctorate in Education and Masters’ Degrees in Education and in French.

Paul Sheridan, Director of Main Contracting, CIF

Paul is a Chartered Engineer and holds a postgraduate diploma in Construction Law and Contract Administration. He also has experience in and holds qualifications in Strategy and Innovation, Business Transformation, Organisation Development, Lean 6-Sigma and Strategic HR.

Paul began his career as a Contract Manager in the Water and Wastewater industry. He previously worked in the Tendering and Contracting Department in the CIF before working as an Executive in Industrial Property Development sector. Since then, Paul has worked with Engineers Ireland and the Royals College of Surgeons in areas of policy development, governance, internal consultancy, membership support and service, advocacy, representation, quality assurance and process excellence, accreditation, academic and professional education, training, strategy and business transformation.

Tom Parlon, Director General, CIF

Before joining the CIF, Tom served as a TD for Laois – Offaly and as Minister for State at the Department of Finance from 2002 until 2007. As Minister he was responsible for the Office for Public Works (OPW).

From 1997 to 2001, Tom was President of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), having previously held several other positions with the association.

He is from Coolderry in Co. Offaly.

Kas Mohammed, Vice President of Digital Energy and leading Smart Buildings, Schneider Electric UK and Ireland

Kas’s team works within both new and existing buildings across commercial real estate, healthcare, life sciences and education segments to deliver systems which ensure optimal efficiency and user comfort across all stages of the building life cycle. Kas is passionate about improving sustainability across the built environment and reducing carbon emissions in our sector.

David O’Brien, Construction Advisor, the Office of Government Procurement

Since 2011 David has been the Chair of the Government Contracts Committee for Construction and senior adviser on public works and construction services procurement. He is a member of the Construction Sector Group established under the National Development Plan to promote regular and open dialogue between the public sector and key segments of the construction industry. Prior to his current role he worked with the National Building Agency where he was a lead architect on social housing and urban regeneration projects.

Pia Feeney, Director – Government & Infrastructure, Strategy and Transactions, EY Ireland

Pia is a Director in EY Ireland’s Government and Infrastructure team. She has 16 years’ experience as a strategic advisor and financier committed to improving the quality, inclusivity and sustainability of social infrastructure. Her experience in the UK, US and across Europe takes in advising on and raising project and infrastructure finance in sectors including housing, healthcare, water and energy. She has been active across different levels of government advising on delivery against housing goals, including mobilising investment into affordable and sustainable housing and strategic assets in challenging markets.

Ross O’Colmain, Manager, High Tech Construction & Housing, Enterprise Ireland

Ross manages Enterprise Ireland’s activities for the high tech construction and housing sectors. He spent 10 years as part of Enterprise Ireland’s overseas team, initially working on the Middle East desk in Dublin before going on to manage EI offices in Toronto and New York. He has also worked for IDA Ireland and the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment. A graduate of TCD and DCU, Ross lives in Dublin and enjoys spending time in the great outdoors and with his two young children.

Fiona Cormican, Chief Commercial Officer, Clúid Housing

Fiona Cormican is Clúid Housing’s New Business Director. Fiona has over 20 years’ experience in social housing development and holds a Master’s in Project Management from the University of Limerick and is a licenced Property Service Professional. Fiona currently manages Clúid’s extensive new business portfolio and has overseen a 40% increase in Clúid’s housing stock over the past 5 years. Clúid now hold over €1.5billion in assets with plans to deliver a further 3,000 homes over the next three years. Clúid’s growth strategy is aligned with meeting the targets of “Housing for All” and the delivery of new supply to the housing market.

Derek Byrne, General Manager, Way 2 Work Ireland

Derek has worked in social care area for approximately 10 years. He is presently the General Manager Way 2 Work Ireland which he co-founded with Dr John Killeen and Andrew Low in 2019 in partnership with Tusla.
Way 2 Work Ireland is a fully funded not for profit organisation developed to create opportunities of employment for all young people with a care experienced background.

Rob Fox, CEO and Founder, Site Passport Supply Chain

A Chartered Civil Engineer, Rob worked for over 20 years in Main Contracting in Ireland and Australia, as a Senior Contracts Manager. He founded Site Passport Supply Chain in 2017 to provide main contractors and property developers with a smarter and more streamlined way of managing their procurement and supply chain. Having established a solid customer base in Ireland, Rob and the team, supported by Enterprise Ireland, raised €500,000 in 2022 to expand into the UK and European construction markets.

Danny O’Shea, Managing Director, Building Information Ireland

Building Information Ireland is the leading provider of information and analysis on the Irish construction Industry. Danny holds a Diploma in IT and an MBA. He has been involved in data analysis, systems development and management for the past 30 years.
Danny was formerly Managing Director of Riverside Manufacturing Ireland Ltd, the European headquarters of a US multi-national corporation.

Gary Wright, BEng, CEng, MICE, FCIHT, Director, Rowsell Wright Ltd

Gary is a senior Procurement Advisor and Chartered Engineer that specialises in the delivery of complex infrastructure programmes, primarily in the road and rail sectors.
Gary co-founded specialist procurement consultancy Rowsell Wright Ltd in 2006. As a Director of Rowsell Wright he has supported the development, implementation and assurance of a range of major programme procurement strategies and plans. Gary has advised a range of public sector clients in the UK and Ireland including National Highways, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Crossrail Limited, High Speed 2 Limited, Department for Infrastructure, Network Rail, House of Commons, Transport for London, and London Underground Limited.
Gary is currently chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) Procurement Advisory Group, which informs and influences ICE and government procurement policy.

Karen Killoran, Partner, Construction and Engineering, Arthur Cox LLP

Karen is a highly experienced construction lawyer. She is recognised as having a wide practice with expertise across both complex transactional matters as well as providing advice on contentious matters. Karen brings significant expertise advising on contracts for expansion and refurbishment projects across a wide range of sectors including residential and commercial property development with a particular focus on PRS, commercial and mixed-use developments, energy, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and IT. Karen has also advised on dispute avoidance and dispute resolution under all forms of construction and engineering contracts including the Public Works Contract.

Karen is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a practising arbitrator and a member of the ministerial panel of adjudicators.

John O’Shaughnessy, Managing Director, Clancy

Clancy is a medium sized national main contractor. John has worked for Clancy for over 26 years in various roles prior before being appointed Managing Director in 2013. He is a member of the National Executive Body of the CIF, Chairman of the South East Branch of the CIF, Chairman of the Education and Training Sub-committee, Chairman of the Building Control and Regulations Committee, and Chairman of the Technical Committee of the CIC Council. John is also a Past President of the MBCA and Thurles Chamber of Commerce and is a current member of the CIRI board. Johns holds an MBA, a diploma in site management, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building (FCIOB) and is an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (ACIArb).

Brian Collier, Procurement Lead Construction, Dublin Airport Authority

Brian has worked for the DAA for over 30 years and as a procurement professional for 25 years. In his current role he is responsible for managing and delivering infrastructure procurement for DAA at Cork and Dublin airports. Brian’s current role involves developing and implementing procurement strategies for projects in excess of €2 billion of infrastructure development at Dublin Airport, which will include airfield, boarding gate piers, terminals and general airport campus development.

Michael Kelleher, Group Operations Director, O’Flynn Group

Michael co-ordinates and oversees the architectural, engineering, building, marketing and sales teams. He has market-leading experience in delivering large-scale developments from concept to completion. These include Ballincollig Town Centre and the Elysian in Cork

Jonathan Reinhardt, Chartered Architectural Technologist MCIAT, Diatec Technical Consultant & Assistant Lecturer in TUD Architectural Technology

Jonathan Reinhardt is a Chartered Architectural Technologist & Technical Consultant with Diatec Group. His experience includes BIM Implementation across Architecture, Engineering & Construction firms. With a background in BIM Management, Building Design & Construction Stage supervision. He holds a master’s degree in BIM Management, BSc. Degree in Architectural Technology as well as lecturing in TUD, Bolton Street in Architectural Technology, Architecture & BIM courses.

Sean Downey, Director, Specialist Contracting, CIF

Sean is a Chartered and Registered Building Surveyor with over 20 years post graduate, technical and project management experience in Irish and European building projects.
He manages specialist and subcontractor trade associations to assist in the development of professional, efficient contracting businesses with the aim of showcasing the value of CIF member companies as ‘best in class’ and to help them achieve their business growth ambitions.

Sean leads initiatives on innovation, BIM and continuous improvement for the construction sector.
Specialist support areas primarily include, advising on contract, payment, dispute resolution and procurement issues.

Gus McCarthy, Director, MKO – Planning & Environmental Consultants

Gus is a professional planner, with a Masters Degree in planning from UCD, with 40 years of experience in both the public and private sectors and a member of the Irish Planning Institute. MKO Planning & Environmental Consultants employs approx. 150 staff providing consultancy services in the areas of planning , environment, ecology, project management and related areas. MKO works across virtually all sectors, including housing and renewable energy. During his career, Gus has gained a wide range of experience in the planning and environmental fields providing planning advice and project management for both public and private sector clients.