Dec 6, Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8


Simon Coveney TD
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government

Simon holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture and Land Management from The Royal Agriculture College, Gloucestershire. He was also educated at Clongowes Wood College, County Kildare; University College Cork and Gurteen Agricultural College, County Tipperary.

Simon was appointed Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government on 6 May, 2016.  He previously served as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine from  March 2011. For the 6 month period to the end of June 2013 Simon chaired the EU Council of Agriculture & Fisheries Ministers where he was at the forefront regarding EU efforts in respect of Common Agriculture (CAP) as well as Common Fisheries (CFP) Policy reforms. Under his chairmanship both dossiers were progressed significantly, with a reform package for CFP agreed in May 2013 and a reform package for CAP agreed at the end of the Irish Presidency in July. The Defence portfolio was added to his brief on July 11, 2014. He represents the Cork South Central constituency.

Simon was first elected to the Dáil in 1998 as one of Fine Gael’s youngest TDs and held Shadow Ministries in the areas of Drugs and Youth Affairs, Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, and Transport. Simon chaired the Fine Gael Policy Development Committee prior to the 2011 General Election.

Simon was elected to the European Parliament in 2004 and was a member of the EPP-ED group.  He was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. Simon was the author of the European Parliament's Annual Report on Human Rights in the World for the year 2004 and again for 2006.

He was a member of Cork County Council and the Southern Health Board from 1999 to 2003.

Kathleen Scanlon
Research Fellow, London School of Economics

Kathleen is a housing researcher at the London School of Economics. She has a wide range of research interests including comparative housing policy (across all tenures – social and private rented housing as well as owner-occupation), mortgage finance and urban development; she has written extensively about Britain’s private rented sector and the role of new corporate landlords.

Her research is grounded in economics but also draws on techniques and perspectives from other disciplines including geography and sociology and aims to improve the evidence base for policy decisions at national and local levels. She is widely published and has worked with a number of UK and international institutions including the Council of Europe Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and Denmark’s Realdania Foundation (a philantrophic organisation established to improve the built environment).

For the last two years she has been involved in a project looking at how to accelerate new residential development in London.

Conaill MacCoille
Chief Economist, Davy Research

Conall received his BA and MA in Economics from University College Dublin. He joined Davy as Chief economist in 2010. Previous to that, he worked for 8 years as a monetary policy advisor and senior economist at the Bank of England.  He has also worked at the Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin and as a lecturer at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Fiona Cormican
New Business Director, Clúid Housing

Fiona has over 16 years’ experience in social housing development. Previously, she was New Business and Regeneration Project Manager for Clúid and Director of Operations for Tógáil Developments Ltd.

Fiona holds a Masters in Project Management, a BA in Education, a PMP certificate and a diploma in Site Management.

Michael O'Flynn
Managing Director, O'Flynn Group

Michael O’Flynn is Managing Director of the O’Flynn Group which was established in 1978 as a house building company and which progressed into one of the largest property development companies in Ireland. The O’ Flynn Group is at the forefront of property development having achieved success in the retail, commercial, industrial and residential sectors.  The Group has an established and strong reputation overseas particularly in the UK but also in Germany and Spain.

In 2014 Michael established O’Flynn Capital Partners, an Irish privately owned firm that specialises in property development, investment and asset management. The company represents a portfolio of investors with a mandate to deliver value added opportunities throughout Ireland and the UK. 

In October, 2015, O’Flynn Group announced that it has established new funding platforms which will underpin the next phase of the company’s development. The new structure involves an Ireland-focused joint venture with global investment firm, Avenue Capital Group, and also includes senior debt funding from AIB and a substantial portfolio of development assets.  A key objective of the new structure is to target the construction of over 10,000 new homes in Ireland, mainly in the Dublin and Cork areas.

Michael is actively involved in representing the policy objectives of the property sector in Ireland. He is a founding member of Property Industry Ireland and is a former Chairman of the Cork branch of the Construction Industry Federation.

Iain Finnegan
Managing Director, Finnegan Menton

Iain is a Fellow of the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.  He has over 25 years of experience in the property market both nationally and internationally and has significant experience and expertise in both advising and acting for many high profile Corporate and Private Clients in the Irish commercial and residential market and in the international investment market. 

He is a member of the European Council of SIOR Global which has over 3,000 members in 630 cities across 34 countries around the world. 

He is the Managing Director of Pembroke Estates Management Ltd, Ireland’s oldest Property Company with an extensive portfolio of commercial and residential properties and ground rents.

Iain is a Co-Founder and Director of Wilton US Commercial which is a US REIT which owns and manages over 400,000sq.ft. of office / commercial space in the Chicago Market. 

Claire Solon
Head of Property, Friends First and President, SCSI

As Head of Property at Friends First, Claire has responsibility for over €500m of property assets. 

She previously worked in ESB where she held position as Head of Estates Management with responsibility for the ESB property portfolio.  One of the major projects in the portfolio included the 40,000 sqm redevelopment of the ESB head office on Fitzwilliam St Lower which recently received planning permission. 

Previously she was Development Director in Bennett Construction where she managed many largescale mixed use development proposals comprising retail, office, medical centre, hotel and residential uses.

She is a Fellow of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), and a Fellow with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.  Claire holds a first class honours degree in Property Economics and has extensively lectured on property valuation methodology in degree and masters courses in DIT. 

She currently holds the position of President in the Society of Chartered Surveyors, the body which represents approx 5,000 member surveyors in Ireland.  

Hugh Brennan
CEO and co-founder, Ó Cualann Co-housing Alliance CLG

Cualann Co-housing Alliance CLG. “Building communities not just houses.”

His vision is for fully integrated, mixed income affordable housing in Ireland. Hugh and               Ó Cualann are currently building 49 affordable co-operative homes in North Dublin with the support of Dublin City Council and are actively exploring other opportunities to deliver mixed income housing in Dublin & Wicklow. Their first scheme has been fully allocated. Members, who sign a common charter, have expressed a desire to live in live in a community where they get to know their neighbours before moving in; where they all look out for each other, where their mortgages do not cripple them, where the houses are built to the best international standards and energy bills are low and where they feel safe and secure.

Hugh started his career in civil & structural engineering in Ireland, graduating from Bolton Street and worked for twenty years in Ireland before working on housing projects in South Africa’s townships and in Haiti, as CEO for two Irish NGO’s. In the aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti he worked with Haven & The Red Cross in Port Au Prince.

Hazel Jones
Director Planning/Social Affordable Housing, Bartra Capital

Hazel is a Chartered Engineer and Town Planner with over 25 years’ experience of strategic planning, land acquisition, design development, planning & transportation, programme and project management, project cost management and PPP of major developments.

She took up her current role with Bartra Capital Property in 2015, having previously worked with Richard Barrett in Treasury Holdings. Prior to taking up her Bartra appointment Hazel was Programme Director with responsibility for the master-planning, design development and delivery of the £150m+ (€200m+) Strule Educational Campus Project for the Strategic Investment Board of Northern Ireland.

Previous to this she acted as Planning and Development Director for Ballymore (Ireland) and Director of Planning for Treasury Holdings with significant involvement in major projects including Spencer Dock and the National Convention Centre; Central Park, Leopardstown; Northside Regeneration and the development of the PPP Light Rail extension from Sandyford to Cherrywood.  

She was also a Senior Land Use and Transportation Director with the Dublin Transportation Office.

Michael Walsh
Head of Property and Construction, ByrneWallace Law Firm

Michael is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s leading real estate lawyers.

A partner with ByrneWallace for over 17 years, Michael is an accomplished practitioner with deep and broad experience in real estate practice. He has particular expertise advising clients in the development, investment acquisition and disposal, residential, hotel, office and warehousing/logistics sectors.

Michael is a regular speaker at the Law Society's continuing professional development and diploma programmes and he is a contributing author to the Law Society's Complex Conveyancing manual.  He is also member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Committee.

Tom Dunne
Head of School of Surveying and Construction Management, Dublin Institute of Technology

Tom is a chartered surveyor and head of the School of Surveying  & Construction Management at the Dublin Institute of Technology. Following 10 years in practice Tom has been lecturing since the 1980s in topics related to property valuation and taxation.

Tom  is a past president of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland and was Chair of the Irish Property and Facility Managers Association. He chaired the Private Residential Tenancies Board (now RTB) from 2004 to 2009 and has been commenting on issues related to housing and residential property for 20 years in the media.

Fergal McAleavey
Head of Private Equity, Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF)

The ISIF, which is an €8.0 billion sovereign development fund with a unique mandate has a statutory mandate to invest on a commercial basis in a manner designed to support economic activity and employment in Ireland. With €8 billion available to deploy, ISIF differs from other pools of capital in a number of key respects. It has a long investment time horizon and therefore can act as a permanent or patient source of long-term capital. It has flexibility up and down the capital structure and can therefore meet changing capital needs and gaps in the marketplace. Within ISIF, Fergal is responsible for equity investments in private equity and venture capital funds, real estate, alternative finance platforms for SMEs and direct equity investments.

Fergal joined ISIF from AIB Corporate Finance where he was Managing Director. He worked in AIB Corporate Finance for 13 years where he led a wide range of investment transactions including M&A, buyouts, debt re-financings and IPOs and he had been particularly active in the SME sector. While in AIB Corporate Finance, Fergal was seconded to the SMU within the Department of Finance which has responsibility for the completion of the restructuring of the banking system and managing the State’s shareholding in the banks and disposals thereof. Earlier in his career Fergal worked as a Technology Equity Analyst at Dolmen Securities and as a Senior Scientist at Optronics Ireland.

Fergal holds BSc and MSc degrees in Physics from Dublin City University and has a PhD in Physics from Trinity College Dublin

Niall Cussen
Chief Planning Advisor, Dept. of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government

Niall is responsible for advancing strategic planning and development policy at national and regional levels in Ireland and played an important role in the preparation of the Government’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness “Rebuilding Ireland”. Previously Niall has led the delivery of the Government’s action programme on unfinished housing developments and is a member of the Dublin Housing Supply and Co-ordination Task Force.

Niall is Head of Business Unit of the Forward Planning Section and leads the Departments professional Planning Advisers in the Department’s Planning, Housing Market Policy and Land Management Division progressing both the Department’s as well as a wider government business agenda relating to legislative and policy development in planning and related matters, most recently in the context of the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, two current planning bills and the preparation of a National Planning Framework to succeed the National Spatial Strategy.

Prior to joining the Department in 2000, Niall worked in a number of planning posts in both local authorities such as Clare, Meath and Dublin City and An Bord Pleanála where he was a Senior Inspector dealing with a wide range of cases.

Niall holds qualifications in economics and geography, regional and urban planning and environmental engineering from Maynooth University, University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin respectively and is both a member, and a past President, of the Irish Planning Institute.

Enda Mc Guane
MBS, MSCSI, MRICS, Managing Director, Winters Property Development

Enda is a highly experienced senior manager with over 20 years’ experience across a broad range of industries in both the private and public sector. He is currently the MD of Winters Property which is one of Irelands largest letting and estate management agencies (8,000 plus units) as well as the largest private operator of student accommodation with over 3,000 bed spaces.  Prior to joining Winters, Enda held senior positions in the sports, property and education sectors.

Enda is a RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) registered valuer. 

Robert Gallagher
CEO, Activate Capital Ltd

Activate Capital is a specialist residential development lending business backed by KKR, a global investment firm and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. Prior to the establishment of Activate Capital, Robert was a Director with KKR, a global investment firm and led the credit investment activities in Ireland. From 2005 to 2011, he was an Executive Director of Ulster Bank Ireland Limited, the Royal Bank of Scotland subsidiary in Ireland, where he was responsible for the corporate and business banking franchises. 

Robert led the European leveraged finance and project finance businesses at Allied Irish Banks and has also worked at Citibank and KPMG. From 2009 to 2011, he was a board member of the European Banking Federation and President of the Irish Banking Federation.

Robert is a Chartered Accountant and holds a B.Sc. from University College Dublin.

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