New Society President ROLAND O’CONNELL sets out his priorities for the coming year.
It is a pleasure to submit my first column as President, and I look forward to using this space in the Journal over the next year to set out my thoughts on our profession and the work of our Society.
During my inaugural speech at the AGM, I said that I believe it is a mark of the calibre of members from all the disciplines who, while faced with arguably the hardest trading conditions any of us have ever had to face in what is a day-to-day struggle for survival, still find the energy and time to devote to Society committees with no personal reward for doing so. Their willingness to do so on our behalf and on behalf of the public at large is commendable. This Journal is testament to the work and involvement of our members, and I want to start this column by congratulating and thanking all those members who give up so much of their time to sit on committees, boards and working groups, both in Merrion Square and in the regions. You are our best ambassadors and there is no doubt that the great successes over the last year have been testament to your enthusiasm.
Over the next year, I am looking forward to visiting more of the professional group meetings and the regional committees to understand more about our profession and the issues that are shaping it. Thanks to our Society’s enhanced visibility, the Government and other stakeholders are interested in our suggestions for reform. Our task is to continue to raise that visibility and increase our profession’s usefulness both to the Government and to the public.
Times are very tough for our profession. The banks are still not functioning properly, consumer sentiment is weak and international investors remain cautious about Ireland’s economic prognosis.
Willpower alone will not change the Irish or the European economy, but there are small things that we, as Chartered Surveyors and members of the Society, can do to help make some positive changes for the future.
In my AGM speech I noted that over the last number of years our profession has largely been a tale of redundancy and emigration, but if we believe in a better future, and I do, then we must also plan for it. It is already evident that an increasing awareness of the skills and qualities of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland has opened new opportunities for us and we must focus our efforts on attracting bright ambitious young people into the profession. While very tough at times, ours is a fantastic profession, which offers a varied, fulfilling and exciting career. I believe in better times ahead and we need to encourage school leavers to consider our profession when choosing their college course. We must also offer structured training and opportunities to develop their skills when they come and work with us. All of us remain grateful to those who guided us when we were developing our skills and knowledge, and it is our duty to mentor the next generation of Chartered Surveyors, even if our motivation is a purely selfish one of ensuring that there are bright motivated people to carry our own businesses forward.
It is a tremendous honour to be elected to the office of President of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland. Be assured that I am committed to working diligently over the next 12 months to ensure that I repay this honour that you have bestowed upon me. I hope that through this column I can share some of my observations and experiences as President, and set out some more thoughts on how we can be a positive contributor to the future of our country and profession.