Thursday 27th October • Dunboyne Castle Hotel, Co. Meath
The Irish Retrofitting Conference, held in partnership with SEAI, recently took place on Thursday 27th October in Dunboyne Castle Hotel, Co. Meath. This conference brought together all the key stakeholders involved in delivering the National Retrofitting Programme and looked at the various aspects of the programme including the financing of retrofitting and the development of the supply chain.
Delegates in attendance heard from speakers, both visiting and local, from organisations including the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications; Leeds Sustainability Institute; Irish Green Building Council; EnergieSprong UK; Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board; Kore Retrofit and Studio Negri.
To keep up to date with next year’s event please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Esmond Birnie is Senior Economist at Ulster University. He has over thirty years of experience in terms of providing economic analysis and also in terms of advising government and working in government. Prior to joining Ulster University, he was Chief Economist in PwC for Northern Ireland and Scotland. Before that, he had been a Ministerial Special Adviser and a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Esmond is a regular commentator in the media on the Northern Ireland economy and public policy including a regular column in the Belfast Telegraph.
John Campbell is Economics and Business Editor for BBC Northern Ireland, a position he has held since September 2013. Prior to that he was a senior BBC producer working across TV, radio and online with special responsibility for business coverage. He began his career on the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo
Councillor Laura Devlin is Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. Her role is to represent and promote the interests and welfare of the District. She works in partnership with various groups within the District to assist Newry, Mourne and Down to maximise the potential that exists for it to develop and grow as a destination for people to live, work and visit for tourism, leisure, recreation, arts and cultural activities. Cllr Devlin has been a member of the SDLP since 1999.
Diane Dodds MLA was appointed as the Northern Ireland Minister for the Economy on 11 January 2020. She was previously elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly to represent Belfast West in 2003, serving until 2007. She was also elected to Belfast City Council in 2005, serving until 2010 and chairing the Policy and Resources Committee. In 2009 Diane was elected to the European Parliament to represent Northern Ireland. There she served as a member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee, and also on the Conference of Presidents, the business committee of the Parliament. She returned to the Northern Ireland Assembly in January 2020 to represent the Upper Bann constituency.
Chris Giles is a columnist at the Financial Times and has been its Economics Editor since 2004. Based in London he has a particular focus on trends in the world economy and in the UK. Previously at the Financial Times, he was the economics editorial writer. Before joining the FT in 2000, Chris was an economics correspondent at the BBC. He started his career in research, spending seven years as an economist for the Institute for Fiscal Studies
Aidan Gough is currently the Designated Officer and Director of Strategy and Policy. In his role as Designated Officer Aidan acts as Accounting Officer for the Body with full responsibility. As Strategy and Policy Director, Aidan advises on collaborative strategy, policy and initiatives to help InterTradeIreland in boosting North/South economic co-operation to the mutual benefit of both economies on the island. Aidan leads InterTradeIreland’s policy and research team to identify areas where joint Government intervention can help to create an environment where it is easier to do business and increase the competitiveness of individual businesses and the island in the global economy. Aidan is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast with an MBA and MSc in Economics. Prior to joining InterTradeIreland in 2000, Aidan was Director of the Northern Ireland Economic Council.
Dr Katy Hayward is Professor of Political Sociology in Queen’s University Belfast. She holds a Senior Fellowship in the UK in a Changing Europe think-tank, where she leads a major project on ‘The future and status of Northern Ireland’. The author of over 300 publications, she is an internationally-recognised expert on Brexit and its implications for the island of Ireland.
Deirdre Heenan is Professor of Social Policy at Ulster University and a member of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences. Her research interests include the integration of health and social care, devolution and mental health. She has published widely on politics and healthcare and is a Senior Research Associate with the Nuffield Trust and a Senior Research Fellow at Pivotal, Northern Ireland’s public policy forum. She is part of the newly established ARINS Project (Analysis and Research on Ireland, North and South) seeking to establish an authoritative, independent and non-partisan reference point for those looking for research and analysis about future constitutional, institutional and policy options for the island of Ireland. She has been appointed to serve on a number of boards including the British Irish Association and the 30% Club. Prof Heenan is a former PVC and Provost and Ulster University and served on the Irish Council of State from 2012 to 2019.
Colin Jess is the Director of Social Enterprise NI, the representative body for the sector. Prior to this he worked in local banking in Belfast for over 30 years. Colin leads on building awareness of the sector across private, public, and educational sectors. Colin is heavily involved in lobbying political parties for their support and has built many relationships with government departments. He is a Council Member of NI Chamber of Commerce.
Seamus Leheny is the Policy Manager for Logistics UK that represents the interests of over 17,000 members across the UK involved in multi-modal movement of goods. The Logistics industry stands to be significantly affected by Brexit hence Seamus’s recent political engagement including three meetings with the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, several Cabinet Ministers and dozens of MPs. Previous to working at the FTA, Seamus was employed in commercial roles for several different European and deep-sea shipping lines at Belfast Port.
Paul MacFlynn is a Co-director at the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) in Belfast. His research interests include labour market transitions, regional economic development and productivity. Since taking up his position in the NERI, Paul has carried out work examining the implications of automation technologies for the future of the workforce, the persistence of low skilled employment in Northern Ireland, and the economic impact of Brexit.
Brian O'Callaghan is a Lead Researcher and Programme Manager at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, the University of Oxford. He is also a Consultant for the Robertson Foundation and on a leave of absence from the Boston Consulting Group. Brian is an Australian Rhodes Scholar. Brian's research focuses on mechanisms for financing renewable energy and other net-zero industry. He holds additional research interests in the hydrogen economy, rural electrification, and fiscal policy in times of economic downturn.
Steve Orr is the Chief Executive of Catalyst Inc. He is responsible for developing the support ecosystem for entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland, to create and scale innovation companies. Steve spent ten years prior to this in California where he co-founded Kineticom Inc, a San Diego, California-based technical talent firm in 2000. The firm ranked #33 on the Inc 500 list of the fastest-growing, privately-held US companies in 2006. Steve graduated from the University of Northumbria with a degree in Business Information Technology.
Mairi Spowage is the Deputy Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute. Her areas of expertise include economic policy, economic statistics, national accounting, and economic and fiscal forecasting. Mairi leads on the Institute's work with various partners, including those in business, the public and third sector. Previously, Mairi was the Deputy Chief Executive of the Scottish Fiscal Commission and the Head of National Accounts at the Scottish Government, and has over a decade of experience working in different areas of analysis.
Marie Ward is the Chief Executive of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, a position she took up in October 2019. Marie has been a director in the Council since April 2015 and has worked at a senior level in local government for over eight years. During that time, Marie was responsible for Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism in Newry, Mourne and Down; Marie led on the development of the Council’s shared services site in Downpatrick and is currently leading on the delivery of a major regeneration scheme for Newry City.
Louise Warde Hunter has recently taken up the role as Principal and CEO at Belfast Metropolitan College. She was previously Deputy Secretary, Housing and Urban Regeneration at the Department for Communities, Northern Ireland. Prior to this Louise led the Central Services and Rural Affairs Group within the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. She previously worked as Deputy Secretary Central Policy Group in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Before that Louise was Head of Policing Policy and Strategy Division at the Department of Justice.
Marie leads the University of Galway’s Exposure Science research team, within the School of Natural Sciences. Her research focuses on characterizing the magnitude of human exposure and exposure pathways for a range of pollutants across multiple microenvironments. Marie and her group are currently working on SEAI funded research which will explore the impact of energy retrofit on indoor air quality, thermal comfort and ventilation in domestic dwellings. This research will also complete a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and health economic evaluation of the energy retrofit of Irish domestic dwellings.