Damien English TD, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Damien is a T.D. for the Meath West constituency.

He works closely with his colleague, Minister Eoghan Murphy T.D., in providing political leadership for Government through the implementation of Rebuilding Ireland: An Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. As Minister, a main priority is achieving a sustainable housing market through social, affordable and private homes; for purchase and for rent.

He was previously Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation when he developed the Government’s Science Strategy, Innovation 2020, which is keeping Ireland at the forefront of R&D, driving innovation to 2025 and building a pool of world class highly skilled researchers in Ireland. He was also drove the expansion of the apprenticeship system in Ireland and the publication of the National Skills Strategy.

Stewart Macartney, Director, Blyth & Blyth Consulting Engineers, Scotland

Stewart joined Blyth & Blyth following graduation from Aberdeen University in 1989 and became a Director in 1999. He has extensive experience in the design and construction of both new build and refurbishment projects and has worked in most civil and structural engineering sectors.

Recent high-profile projects to which he has contributed include the multi award-winning Dalmunach Distillery for Chivas Brothers, the award-winning office building for Standard Life in Edinburgh and The Glenlivet Distillery on Speyside.

In addition to design and construction work, Stewart carries out forensic engineering investigations into building and building element failures and has undertaken numerous collapse and failure investigations over last 28 years. He also acted as an expert witness on a number of cases.

In 2016 he sat on the Independent Inquiry Panel assisting Professor John Cole CBE with the “Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Construction of Edinburgh Schools” which was published in February 2017. This report is now widely referred to as “The Cole Report” and was commissioned by The City of Edinburgh Council following the collapse of a wall at Oxgangs Primary School in Edinburgh.

Stewart is an Approved Certifier of Design for Building Structures and one of the Certification Coordinator for Blyth + Blyth’s Edinburgh office. He is also an auditor for the Structural Engineers Registration Scheme (SER) and sits on the Scottish Registration Board (SRB) which manages the SER Scheme in Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.

In late 2017 he was appointed to the Scottish Government Building Standards Review Panel for Compliance and Enforcement which is undertaking a review of Scottish Building Standards and Building Standard Procedures following the Edinburgh Schools and Grenfell Tower.

Daniel Trnka, Senior Policy Analyst, Regulatory Policy Division, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Daniel has been working in the area of public administration reform and regulatory reform for more than 18 years both at the national as well as the international level. Before joining the OECD, he worked as Director of the Department of Regulatory Reform and Public Administration Quality of the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic. His main areas of expertise are administrative simplification, regulatory impact assessment, stakeholder engagement and regulatory enforcement and inspections.

He is an author or co-author of several OECD publications, including the Recommendation of the OECD Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance, Cutting Red Tape: Why Is Administrative Simplification So Complicated? OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Enforcement and Inspections, Administrative Simplification Reviews of Poland and Vietnam, Regulatory Policy Reviews of Mexico, Kazakhstan and Lithuania, Measuring and Reducing Administrative Burdens in Greece.

Patrick Durkan, Managing Director, Durkan Residential Ltd

Patrick is Managing Director of Durkan Residential Ltd a second generation house building family business.
Durkan Residential has evolved to become one of the leading names in the delivery of high quality, residential homes in the greater Dublin area. The company is at the forefront of sustainable design and delivery of homes and has recently completed the largest Passive House Certified Development in Ireland. In recognition of this achievement, Durkan Residential was awarded the 2017 SEAI Sustainable Design Award. The company are currently finalists for the Irish Construction Excellence Awards in 2018.

Patrick is a Chartered Accountant ACA, and has worked with KPMG after graduating with a B.B.S. from Trinity College Dublin.

Orla Hegarty, BArch MRIAI RIBA, Assistant Professor, the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin (UCD)

Orla was previously in architectural practice in Ireland, the UK and France and has over 20 years direct experience in housing design and delivery across all sectors.

Orla’s current research interests include the construction industry in Ireland, housing, energy efficiency and sustainable development, construction procurement, regulation and enforcement. She contributes to the media on a regular basis and has appeared several times as an expert witness at the Oireachtas Joint Housing Committee.

She is a Registered Architect in Ireland and a member of the RIAI (Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland), the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and an External Examiner at Kingston University, London and Birmingham School of Architecture and Design.

Eoin Leonard, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, i3PT Certification

Eoin is founder and Chief Executive Officer at i3PT Certification, Ireland’s largest independent building certification firm. He has spent the majority of his career engaged in research and analysis of building controls, quality assurance and building failure. Eoin holds an MBA from University College Cork (UCC), as well as a number of industry-specific technical qualifications. i3PT Certification is engaged by some of the largest companies in the world to certify their buildings in Ireland and overseas. The firm has offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway and London.

Gail Carroll, Enforcement Policy Manager, Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Gail holds an MSc in Environmental Science from Queens University Belfast; a BSc in Biotechnology from Dublin City University; a Diploma in Regulatory Management from the Irish Management Institute and a Certificate in Marketing from the Marketing Institute of Ireland.

Gail has over 20 years’ experience in the private and and public sectors working mainly in compliance and regulatory enforcement roles. Gail’s current role is Enforcement Policy Manager in the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). FSAI has statutory responsibility for enforcement of all food legislation in Ireland. Gail’s role is to manage key partnerships between FSAI and state agencies that enforce food law on FSAIs behalf through service contract arrangements. The focus of Gail’s role is to manage and monitor the effectiveness of these partnerships, setting outcome based targets and drive continuous improvements in food law enforcement. Gail has extensive experience in food regulation, food law enforcement, development of legislation at European Union level and development and implementation of national enforcement policies.

Hubert Fitzpatrick, Director of Development Housing and Planning Services, Construction Industry Federation (CIF)

Hubert is responsible for a range of policy functions affecting the construction industry including finance and banking matters, taxation and budgetary policy, housing, development, planning and regulatory policy and the introduction of the proposed registration process for the construction industry known as Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI).

Hubert is also Director of the Irish Homebuilders Association and Director for the Federation’s Eastern Region.

Anne Millar, Managing Director, PTL Construction and Director, Inspex Ltd

Anne (MII Grad. MSc Real Estate) is a graduate of the Marketing Institute of Ireland with over
25 years’ experience in the property and construction industries.

Before establishing the companies PTL and Inspex, she worked in the Property and IT sectors,
rising to management level in customer and employee management and marketing roles.

Inspex is a company that specialises in the inspection of PRS properties included in public sector
housing schemes. Having standardised the inspection process vis-à-vis rental and
building regulations and developed the mobile technology, Inspex leads the market with the
‘National Property Test’ and compliance concepts.

Anne has completed an MSc Real Estate with 1ST Class Honours in the DIT School of Real Estate
and Construction Economics. The chosen subject of her thesis ‘An Analysis of Consumer
Protection in the Building Control Amendment Regulations 2014 Ireland’ identified several
weaknesses in the current regulatory system in relation to consumer protection,
disproportionate liability for professionals, and the lack of independent oversight of
construction in Ireland.

Joe Kennedy, B.Sc.Arch., FRIAI, RIBA, Managing Director, Smith and Kennedy Architects, Joint Managing Director, Kompas International Architects and Chair of the BCAR Steering Group, the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI)

Joe is Managing Director of Smith and Kennedy Architects, a busy mid-sized Dublin based firm involved in residential, leisure, commercial, educational and interior sectors.

He was previously Honorary Secretary of the RIAI (2015 /2016) and currently chairs the RIAI BCAR Steering Group. Joe is currently the RIAI Spokesperson on Building Regulation issues.

Mairéad Phelan BE, CEng, FIEI, MBA, Programme Manager, the National Building Control Management Project and the supporting IT System (BCMS), the Local Government Management Agency

Prior to her current role, Mairéad was Senior Engineer in Fingal County Council’s Built Environment, Planning Enforcement, Road Safety and Transportation Departments. The bulk of her experience is in project management of large building construction and civil engineering projects. She worked as an area/town council engineer in Carlow County Council, along with performing the role of conservation officer. Her early career was spent working with Nicholas O Dwyer Consulting Engineers on major water and drainage schemes.

Mairéad also holds H.Diploma in Highway & Geotechnical Engineering, a Higher Diploma in Project Management, a Diploma in Law and a Professional Certificate in Governance.

Cormac Allen, Registered Architect and Assistant Head of School, Dublin School of Architecture, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)

Cormac is programme chair on the BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology programme and in recent years he has led the development of a suite of industry-focussed postgraduate and CPD upskilling programmes in low energy design and deep energy retrofit. These programmes include the Springboard-funded ‘MSc in Energy Retrofit Technology’, the NSAI-recognised ‘CPD Diploma in Thermal Bridge Assessment’ and the recently validated ‘MSc in Building Performance (Energy Efficiency in Design)’ which is being delivered in distance learning, blended online mode.

He was also instrumental in establishing the School of Multidisciplinary Technologies MSc in Applied Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Management and related BIM Architecture CPD modules. Through this work Cormac has gained valuable insight into the learning needs of professional architects, engineers, building surveyors and architectural technologists seeking to upskill in NZEB design and BIM processes and technologies which is informing the ongoing development of modules and programmes for practicing building design professionals.

Deirdre Ní Fhloinn, Barrister, PhD candidate: Legal remedies for defective housing and Irish Research Council Scholar

Deirdre is a barrister in her final year of a PhD at the Law School at Trinity College Dublin, pursuant to a scholarship from the Irish Research Council, supported by the Housing Agency, on the subject of legal remedies for defective housing.

Deirdre advised on a number of substantial construction projects at Reddy Charlton Solicitors before spending five years as a senior in-house lawyer at London Underground, where she specialised in building and engineering contracts as part of the Transport for London investment programme.

She holds a Diploma in Construction Law and Contract Administration from TCD, and an MSc in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution from King’s College, London, and lectures on both programmes in her areas of research.

Deirdre publishes and lectures widely on construction law and related topics, and was invited to address the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government on two occasions in 2017 with regard to aspects of her PhD research. Deirdre was called to the Bar in 2017 and intends to pursue a practice at the Bar in 2018 following completion of her PhD.

Tina-Marie O’Neill, Property Editor, The Sunday Business Post

Tina-Marie was appointed to her current role in 2014. She has worked with The Sunday
Business Post since 2000 contributing to a variety of sections of the newspaper, including
world news, general reporting and covering food for the Magazine. Tina Marie has a masters
degree in politics from University College Dublin and a diploma in interior design.

Fergal O’Byrne, Head of Business Excellence Certification, NSAI

Fergal manages a wide client base of companies who typically are certified to the Quality Management System ISO 9001 with increasing numbers adding on Occupational Health & Safety Certification OHSAS 18001/ISO 45001, the Environmental Management System ISO 14001 and ISO 27001 Information Security. Business Excellence Certification division also deals with such issues as Social Responsibility based on ISO 26000, the Human Resource Specification ‘Excellence Through People’ and PEFC Forest Management & Chain of Custody. The client base ranges from the very small SME service companies to Ireland largest indigenous and FDI companies. The division consists of a team of 31 auditors based throughout Ireland, with audits taking place across all continents.

Fergal holds a MSc in Civil Engineering from Queens University Belfast, a Post graduate Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety from DCU as well as qualifications in Environmental Management, European Law and Quality management systems. He represents NSAI at IQNeT, the global network of National Certification Bodies and has represented Ireland on the Group of Notified Bodies for the implantation of the Construction Products Directive under the auspice of the European Commission. He is a Fellow of the Institute on Concrete Technology (UK) and maintains Lead Auditor status.

Eddie Cassidy, CEng. MIEI. Eur Ing, Projects Director, Flynn Management & Contractors

Eddie is an experienced commercial contract manager with a demonstrated history of working in the construction industry. He is skilled in construction law, construction, contract management, engineering and project engineering. Eddie has a degree in Civil & Structural Engineering from the Dublin Institute of Technology.


Kevin is Secretary General and Past President of the Association of European Experts in Building and Construction. He is Chairman of the NSAI Construction Standards Consultative Committee overseeing the Construction Sector Standards Program 2018 – 2022.

He is a Chartered Surveyor, Chartered Environmentalist, Chartered Building Engineer and immediate Past Chairman of the Institution of Civil Engineers (Republic of Ireland region) and Past President of the Irish Building Control Institute.

He is a member of the Architects Registration Board, the Construction Industry (Voluntary) Registration Ireland (CIRI) Board and a former member of the Building Surveyors Registration Board. He served on the SI105 BCAR Board for alternative compliance proposals for Health & Schools Projects.

He was involved in the Construction Industry Council (C.I.C) sub-committee participating in the development of the BCAR Code of Practice for Inspection and Certification of Buildings and Works and in developing the Ancillary Certificates and Practice Guidance support notes.