President ROLAND O’CONNELL reflects on an eventful year for the Society and the country.
This edition of the Journal is a snapshot of the Society’s activities over the last quarter. The wide range of projects undertaken by our professional body reflects the scope of activities and services that Chartered Surveyors undertake. This has been a busy quarter, finishing an incredibly busy year for our new Society.
Whether they work in construction, land or property, all members of the Society will feel the impact of the Budget, either because of things it changed in our sector or things that it failed to change. The local property tax was one of the biggest changes to the residential property market we have experienced for years, and its impact on the buyer appetite will take a long time to be fully realised. In 2016 and beyond, when local authorities gain the power to vary the tax rate, the impact of this tax on planning, demographics and the provision of local services will be even larger. The Society has always advocated that local services should be funded through a ring-fenced annual property tax, as part of a wide reform of how local government operates, but we were disappointed that the tax will not be as transparent or easily calculated as we would have wished.
For the construction industry, the Budget was notable for its lack of change. Despite the Society’s repeated calls for improvements to the procurement and delivery of public capital projects, there was little real reform in Budget 2013. At the end of November 2012 the annual public capital programme for the year was under-spent by 14%, so the real impact of a further €500m cut to public infrastructure investment next year will be large.
Over the last couple of months it has been my privilege to see the Society in action in two very different ways. The Annual Conference is the centre of the Society’s working year, and a packed Chartered Accountants House heard direct from a range of experts on new funding models and new ways that dynamism and activity can be brought back to the Irish economy. Already our members are working on proposals for developing new ways of leveraging finance so that partially completed or designed developments can move to completion.
At the Southern Region dinner in Cork, it was my pleasure to thank all of our volunteer members for their hard work in running the Society’s communications and education events in the regions. We are fortunate to have such dynamic and engaged regional committees who complement the work of our professional groups and boards so well, and create a real nationwide network of surveying professionals. The Society should congratulate itself on the great level of member engagement we have, and we always welcome greater involvement of our members on working groups or committees to lead our profession onwards.
In addition to thanking you for your engagement in the Society during a very busy year, I would like to wish all of our members a very happy and peaceful Christmas. I look forward to working with you on further advancing our profession and Society in the New Year.