Sunday, November 22, 2009

Executive and Council meetings

Yesterday morning we had a short,  one hour,  Executive meeting followed immediately by Council.

The sole agenda item for the Executive meeting was to consider and approve the budget for 2010.   The budget has been through a number of iteration.  We have decided to take a conservative view of both sponsorship and Government support.  We are obviously keen to retain services to our members,  but in particular wish to augment the level and quality of our CPD activities in the coming year.   Given our changes in membership regulations,  we also expect our membership to grow,  at least modestly.  We are also being as cautious as possible about our cost base.  Finally we want to celebrate our 175th year next year in an appropriate fashion,  and are also negotiating buying out our ground rent for Clyde Road.  Putting all these facets together,  we approved a conservative budget which would in effect see a cash flow neutral year for 2010.

The Council meeting followed,  and was very well attended despite the dreadful flooding in the West and South of the country.

The 2010 budget,  recommended by the Executive,  was approved by Council.

The National Standards Association of Ireland presented their work to us arising from a suggestion from Conor Hoey at our previous Council meeting,  during a half hour session with Q&A.  They observed that participation in the standards process can not only ensure that situations particular to the Irish economy can be defended,  but also that participation can be used offensively and strategically:  in fact I have blogged about this using standards as a business strategy here.    We are keen to participate even more deeply with the NSAI and ensure that Engineers strongly influence all relevant standards activities in Ireland.

Michael Hayden,  President of the Irish Academy of Engineering,  then gave a half hour presentation on the work of the Academy.  Michael sees the primary role of the Academy as an influence on national policy,  including in particular infrastructure in its widest context.  He sees Engineers Ireland primarily concerned with operations and execution,  ensuring that best practice is fostered and implemented.   Naturally the two activities strongly overlap,  and some of the analysis and reporting activities being undertaken by the Academy are being done jointly.

Revisions to our code of ethics,  which have recently been reviewed,  were approved.  At the time of writing,  these are not yet posted on our public website,  but I would expect them to be very imminently. We will also be bringing them to the attention of our membership and indeed the public at large.

Martin Lowery (incoming President next year) reported on the recent Liaison Committee meeting with our Regions, Societies and Divisions.

PJ Rudden (incoming President after Martin) proposed,  on the basis of a recent visit he himself had undertaken,  to form a new Middle East Region for Engineers Ireland.  Council so approved.  There are a number of our members operating in the Middle East and I am truly delighted that we are forming this new region:  it is our first region ever formed (as far as I know) outside of the British Isles.

We received an update on the planning for the 2010 Annual Conference in Cork.  We have one major sponsor so far.  As I have noted previously,  we are introducing a session at conference next year on resolutions tabled from our membership.  13 such resolutions have been proposed,  and 6 of these are being selected Council (by ballot) to debate at Conference.

Under AOB,  John Power (DG) read a synopsis of a small number of emails which he had received from certain members who had been unhappy with the position which Council had taken on the Lisbon referendum.

We also noted the great success of the Energy Forum which we had hosted earlier this week (unfortunately I missed it,  being away in Vietnam),  with high participation in Clyde Road and by webex,  as well as high media interest.  We have a Construction Industry Forum planned for 7th December next.

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