Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Fergal Dennehy

Councillor Fergal Dennehy was elected to the City Council in 2004 (co-opted in 2003)epresenting the South West part of the City, Togher, Bishopstown, Glasheen and Wilton. Fergal is the son of John Dennehy, former member of parliament and Lord Mayor. He has been involved in community and voluntary activities from an early age and is a founding member of Togher Boxing Club, Secretary of Togher Community Association, Founder of Cork City Youth Café Network, Board member of Togher Family Centre and Tidy Towns Committee, Chairperson of Cork Local Community Development Committee and a volunteer with Helping Corks Homeless

Ann Doherty, Chief Executive, Cork City Council

In September 2014, Ann Doherty was appointed Chief Executive of Cork City Council where she is responsible for the strategic leadership and successful direction of an organisation that employs over 1500 staff and is the city’s only organisation, as provided for in law, that represents, leads and serves the communities of Cork City.

In 2019, she oversaw the largest local authority boundary extension in the history of the state with Cork City growing to five times its previous size. This historic expansion of the city has enabled Cork City Council to plan for a city of sustainable urban growth and realise its potential as a city of scale.

An experienced business leader with over 3 decades in senior management roles in Ireland and the UK, Ann has been responsible for the implementation of transformative programmes to deliver change and operational success in large public sector organisations including the Health Service Executive (Ireland) and the National Health Service (UK). Ann holds an MBA and is a Chartered Director.

In 2014, along with 25 other women, Ann was awarded as one of Ireland’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.

Frank Kelly, President, Construction Industry Federation

Walls Construction is a top 10 building contractor with a turnover in excess of €250m. Frank is a past president of the MBCA, chair of the CIF Safety Health and Welfare committee and current President of CIF. He brings over 25 years industry experience operating across a broad range of the industry sectors including commercial, healthcare, education, industrial, retail, conservation and tourism/leisure, Frank has been responsible for the delivery of some notable projects – the Westin Hotel Westmorland Street, Trinity Biosciences and school of medicine Pearse Street and the new Central Bank headquarters on North wall Quay.


Jonathan Healy, Broadcaster

After graduating with a degree in law from University College Cork, Jonathan Healy worked in radio, television and online media for two decades. He has been a presenter with Newstalk 106-108fm and a senior correspondent with Sky News, with his work featuring prominently on both stations. Jonathan also has experience working with TV3, RTE, FM104, The Cork Independent and Cork’s 96fm.Having conducted thousands of interviews with people from all works of Irish life, he is a skilled interviewer and proven cross-platform content creator with extensive contacts across politics, business and public relations throughout the country, Jonathan is also a proven event facilitator and engaging MC. He has also delivered high impact voice-over work for corporate videos and campaigns.

Marian Finnegan, Managing Director-Residential & Advisory, Sherry Fitzgerald

 Marian has been at the forefront of Sherry FitzGerald for over 20 years. She was the first economist appointed to a property company in Ireland, when she established the research arm in 1996.  Subsequently she was appointed Chief Economist and Director of Research for Sherry FitzGerald. This role involved monitoring and analysing economic and property indicators in the domestic and international markets.

In 1998, Marian joined the board of Sherry FitzGerald Group and in 2019 was appointed Managing Director of Sherry FitzGerald Residential. She has a unique blend of skills across many areas – people, strategy and leadership. Marian has helped shape Sherry FitzGerald and understands the property market and the company’s business strategy. She is a regular contributor in the Irish and international media and one of the most highly regarded commentators in the industry.

Adam Cronin. Head of Offshore, DP Energy

Adam leads the offshore team in the delivery of the companies offshore renewable development brief in Ireland and provides advice across the group and internationally.A Chartered Civil Engineer and Certified Project Manager, Adam holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Civil Engineering and a B.Eng. in Civil Engineering. He also holds post graduate diplomas in project management and GIS. Adam is a member of Engineers Ireland, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Project Management and PIANC. Adam has significant experience leading teams in the design, consenting and development of marine and offshore projects, including offshore energy, subsea cabling, dredging and port and harbour developments supporting the offshore renewable sector. Having worked in private practice and for the consenting authorities, Adam has a unique understanding and knowledge of the regulation and consenting processes for offshore and nearshore developments.

Barry Quinlan, Head of Housing Affordability, Inclusion and Homelessness Division, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

Throughout a varied career in public service, Barry has worked in public policy development and programme implementation across complex priority public policy areas, particularly in housing and local government modernisation. He is currently leading the new Housing Affordability, Inclusion and Homelessness Division in the Department, working to deliver the Government’s objectives across homelessness, affordable purchase and cost rental housing, also incorporating the housing research area for the Department. Previously, Barry headed up the Department’s Housing Delivery and Local Government Divisions.

Dr Val Cummins, Managing Director, Simply Blue Group

Val is Managing Director of the Emerald floating wind joint venture partnership between the

Simply Blue Group and Shell. She joined Simply Blue as an executive director in 2021 as Ireland Projects and Operations Director. Simply Blue is a blue economy developer, with a focus on floating wind, wave and low impact aquaculture. Val’s move to industry was inspired by a desire to have an impact on the energy transition and to lead blue growth initiatives in a company that is dedicated to sustainable development goals for the oceans and seas. This followed 21 years as a researcher and academic in University College Cork, where she developed a track record in the field coastal and ocean governance and was awarded for her leadership in building research capacity in marine science.  

She now has responsibility for an international, multidisciplinary team working on delivering a circa 1.3GW floating wind farm off the south coast of Ireland, in the vicinity of the Kinsale gas field which is currently being decommissioned. She seeks to inculcate the values of integrity, diversity, courage, passion and responsibility in projects and processes, particularly in stakeholder relations. Val is working to influence future energy policy and supply chain development for floating wind in Ireland through her role as Chair of the Wind Energy Ireland FLOSH Committee (Floating offshore wind, supergrid and hydrogen); as a council member of Wind Energy Ireland; and a council member and non-executive director of the Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA).

 Val is an Eisenhower Fellow and has participated in Women in Leadership executive training at Harvard University. She is co-editor of the Coastal Atlas of Ireland, which will be launched by Cork University Press in September this year. A career highlight has been to serve as co-chair of Future Earth Coasts from 2016 to 2020, facilitating the development of a community of scientists and practitioners from around the globe with a vision to support transformation to a sustainable and resilient future for society and nature on the coast.  She now serves as a member of the Future Earth Coast Academy. She is married with three young daughters and relishes living in Cork Harbour.

Stephen McCarthy, Managing Director, Astra Construction Services Ltd

Astra Construction was founded by Stephen over 34 years ago. He has concentrated the business in the Carrigaline area in Cork and has built over 2,000 homes.

Stephen’s in-depth knowledge of the house building industry and personal tenacity brought the company through the last recession which resulted in the successful completion of a development of 400 houses in Forest Hill, Carrigaline. His company is now in the process of building its largest development to date comprising 950 homes in Janeville on the Cork Road in Carrigaline.

Stephen is actively involved with Homebond and the CIF, at a local and national level and has held various positions within these organisations including;

  • Director and Past Chairman of Homebond.
  • Past Chairman of Irish House Builders Association (IHBA).
  • Past Chairman of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) Cork branch.
  • Current Chairman of the Irish House Builders Association (IHBA) Cork branch.
  • Member of the National Executive of the Irish House Builders Association (IHBA).

Tom Parlon, Director General, Construction Industry Federation

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.

Michael O Sullivan Greene FCMA CGMA, Director, OLOS New Homes

Michael became Chairman of Cork Branch of the CIF on 22nd March 2021.
He is a Director of OLOS New Homes, a residential building company focused on delivering high quality new homes in the greater Cork area on a sustainable basis.
A second-generation builder, Michael has a wealth of experience

Parag Joglekar, Head of Development with Respond

Parag Joglekar is Head of Development with Respond. He is a registered Architect in Ireland and the UK and holds a Masters degree with distinction in Architecture from University of Leuven, Belgium. He is a member of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) in the UK. Parag has worked in both the private and semi-private sector in Ireland, UK and India. He has extensive experience of over 26 years in Urban Design, Private and Public Housing, Regeneration, Commercial projects, Risk & Asset Management in addition to managing design & construction contracts.

Parag joined Respond in 2001 and currently leads a Development team of 20 construction professionals. He is tasked to deliver the Organisations current strategy of 3500 homes over a five Year period until 2023. In addition to leading business development, managing client relationships, he is responsible for developing strategic partnerships across the private and public sector to deliver long term sustainable developments. Parag is involved in strategic management, negotiating and delivering key development projects which range between € 65 million and € 15 million. Prior to joining Respond in 2001, he has been involved in commercial and public projects with individual project values of up to € 125 million. Parag has been a guest speaker at a number of housing led events hosted by the private, public and voluntary sector.

Anne Graham, Chief Executive Officer, National Transport Authority

Anne is Chief Executive Officer with the National Transport Authority. The Authority is responsible for the provision, regulation and integration of public transport services, the provision of supporting infrastructure for sustainable transport and for driving the greater use of sustainable transport as a mode of choice. She previously worked with the Authority as Director of Public Transport Services on the regulation and provision of public transport services nationally. Prior to joining the NTA, she worked in the Dublin local authorities as a chartered civil engineer in the drainage, roads and traffic divisions; as a project manager on the redevelopment of Dublin’s O’Connell Street area and as an Area Manager in the South West area of the city.

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Brian Sheehan, Head of Asset Delivery, Irish Water

Brian Sheehan is part of the senior management team at Irish Water. He has responsibility for the delivery of the water and wastewater capital investment programmes. The planned programme over the five-year period 2020-2024 totals a value of €5bn. In his role, Brian has direct responsibility for all activities from design, planning and procurement through to construction delivery. Prior to taking up this role, he was group head of planning and delivery in the Ervia Group and worked in various roles in Gas Networks Ireland including head of asset management. Brian has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Limerick and a diploma in Applied Project Management.

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Michael Lynch, Director of Services Planning & Development, Cork County Council

Michael is responsible for overseeing service delivery in one of the largest planning directorates in the State and for managing a multi-disciplinary team including Development Management, the Housing Infrastructure Implementation Team, Heritage, Ecology and the Sustainable Transport Unit that will oversee delivery of the NTA active travel programme in County Cork. Currently overseeing the County Development Plan Review process, which will provide for the incorporation of the 9 former Town Council Plans and 8 Municipal District Local Area Plans into an overall County Development Plan, Michael is tasked with ensuring there is a sustainable approach with local articulation to the planned delivery of the National Planning Frameworks ambitious population, employment and housing growth targets in Cork County.

Prior to joining Cork County Council, he was Assistant Director with the Southern Regional Assembly and has previously worked for County Councils in Tipperary, Cork, Waterford and Clare.

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Michael Lynch, Resident Partner, Cork, KPMG, Ireland

Michael is a member of KPMG’s Private Enterprise team and leads KPMG’s tax practice in our Cork office where he advises multinational and private Irish business clients. He has experience in cross border transactions, infrastructure/property related matters, dealing with revenue audit and investigation as well as wealth and succession planning.

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Ray O’Connor, Head of Department, Regions & Enterprise Development, IDA Ireland

Ray has recently been appointed as the Head of Department, Regions and Enterprise Development at IDA Ireland. Balanced regional development is a key strategic priority for the organisation and a core pillar of IDA’s new strategy, “Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth 2021-2024”. The organisation has set ambitious investment targets across every region of Ireland. Ray leads IDA’s Regional team, located across 8 regions, which plays a pivotal role in the business development cycle for FDI in positioning specific locations to new and existing clients for investment opportunities. Ray also oversees a portfolio of IDA clients located across Ireland.He previously managed the South West & South East Regions with IDA Ireland marketing the region for FDI and working with local stakeholders to improve the attractiveness of the region for client companies. He has also worked in Telecoms, IT and Tourism in Product Management and Project Management roles.  Ray holds a Bachelor of Science from UCC, Postgraduate Diploma in Business Studies from NUI Galway and a Master of Business Studies (International Marketing) from UCD.


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Michael Mahon, Chief Infrastructure Officer, Eirgrid 

Michael joined EirGrid Group in August 2019. In this role he is responsible for planning and consents for grid infrastructure across the island, including public consultation processes and landowner engagement. He previously held the position of General Manager, ESB Smart Energy Services. Michael has 20 years’ experience with ESB, with significant leadership experience in major project delivery. He is also a Chartered Engineer with Post Graduate Diplomas in both Project Management and Management.

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Russell Smyth, Partner, KPMG, Ireland
Russell Smyth leads KPMG’s Sustainable Futures teams and has extensive experience in renewable energy, low carbon fundraising and project finance transactions as well as corporate strategy and M&A advisory services. Russell will discuss the current landscape of the Renewable Energy sector and his recent experiences and insights of the Irish market. Russell will also comment on the opportunities and challenges for the Cork and Munster region to be at the centre of the global renewable energy revolution.