Last week, Professor Lord Mair, President of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) in the UK visited Ireland and was hosted by RPS’ Cormac Bradley, Chairman of the Republic of Ireland Branch of the ICE.
ICE ROI Chairman Cormac Bradley (RPS) is presented with commemorative medal by ICE President Professor Lord Robert Mair
Future Engineer, Ayo Sokale at the Dublin Waste to Energy Facility at Poolbeg
To mark the 200th year of the ICE, this year’s Presidential Visit to Ireland extended over three days. It involved a full itinerary of lectures, project visits and the presentation of Lord Mair’s Presidential Address in Engineers Ireland. Lord Mair was accompanied by Ms Ayo Sokale, a young graduate engineer who was selected as one of eight Future Leaders who accompany the ICE President on his visits to the regions and countries where ICE engineers are working.
Given the historic significance of the visit, the focus was on celebrating engineering in Ireland over the last 200 years. Four heritage themed lectures were scheduled for the visit. Michael Phillips, former Dublin City Engineer, presented on Engineering in Ireland in the 19th century covering the development of railways, canals, harbours, buildings and bridges. Rob Goodbody, an historic buildings consultant and writer presented on Dun Laoghaire Harbour which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2017. Deirdre McParland, Senior Archivist with the ESB gave a lecture on the Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Scheme which transformed the Irish economy of the time. Finally, author and publisher, Fergus Mulligan presented on the life and times of one of the giants of Irish engineering – William Dargan. One of the infrastructure assets that we enjoy today, nearly 1300km of railway line was originally laid by Dargan who had close to 50,000 people working for him in the 1840s.
The itinerary included site visits to the new Dublin Airport Fuel Farm project and the Dublin Waste to Energy project at Poolbeg, where a presentation was given by RPS’ PJ Rudden on the evolution of waste policy in Ireland. The group received a tour of the facility where 1800 tonnes of waste are processed daily. This project was planned and procured by RPS as consultants to Dublin City Council.
To celebrate the ICE bicentenary during the ICE President’s visit, Lord Mair presented a number of commemorative medals – reproductions of the medal struck in the 1840’s to celebrate the completion of the first tunnel under water, the Thames Tunnel by famous UK Engineer Brunel. Medals were presented to Cormac Bradley, as well as Michael Phillips and PJ Rudden, both ICE Fellows and former Presidents of Engineers Ireland.
The key event of the visit was President Professor Lord Robert Mair’s Presidential Address, tailored to his Irish audience and his visit over the previous two days. The address was titled “Transforming Infrastructure, Transforming Lives – Building on 200 years” and noted that while we need to celebrate the engineer of the past, we also need to redefine the future of society with smart infrastructure. The engineer of the future has a multitude of challenges. The next generation of civil engineers can transform lives the way the engineers of the past did.