Society President PAULINE DALY reviews some of the high points of the year.

As we near the end of 2015, it is a good time to reflect on the work of the Society and its members over the past year. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the work of the hundreds of volunteer members across the country who dedicate their time and professional expertise, and contribute ideas that are instrumental to the Society in achieving its goals.

Annual Conference
This year’s Annual Conference, which had as its theme ‘Leadership in Housing’, was a very successful event and featured contributions from a range of speakers including Minister for Construction 2020, Paudie Coffey TD (see page 6 for an interview with the Minister), Peter Collins, MD of Kennedy Wilson Europe, and motivational speaker Frank Dick OBE. The new afternoon format of the conference, which was suggested by members, worked well and provided good networking opportunities throughout the afternoon and evening (see page 9 for a full report of the Conference).

New members
Following the successful transition of the IPFMA into the Society, we are working to integrate new members into the organisation. I would encourage those who have not yet made the transition to do so in early 2015. In addition, the Irish Institution of Surveyors (IIS) recently passed a resolution for their members to join the Geomatics Professional Group of the Society. I look forward to welcoming these new members in January.

Policy
The Annual Conference also coincided with the launch of the Society’s ‘New Model for the Private Rented Sector’ report, which made a series of recommendations in relation to developing a more sustainable private rented sector. A new Housing Supply Capacity in Dublin report was also published to highlight the available capacity to meet housing requirements over the coming years and the report, and new SCSI online planning permission and zoning viewer, was launched at a briefing for members and external stakeholders. Following on from the publication of the SCSI Pre Budget Submission during the summer, an engagement strategy was launched, which included meetings with the Department of Finance, the Department of An Taoiseach, the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government, and the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform in advance of Budget 2015. We were pleased to note that some of the organisation’s recommendations, including the abolition of windfall tax, the introduction of taxation measures to improve land mobility, the extension of the Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) scheme to cover the private rented sector, the extension of the Living Cities initiative, the possibility of introducing a fund for builders, and the prioritisation of increased capital investment in social housing, were introduced.

Surveying careers promotion
The Society continues to promote surveying careers at career fairs throughout the country. Last month, we participated in the Higher Options careers fair at the RDS. Over 25,000 secondary students were in attendance and 40 ‘Young Surveying Ambassadors’ assisted on the stand, including property, quantity, building and geomatics surveyors.

Acting Director General
Seamus Feely has joined the Society as Acting Director General until a successor for Ciara Murphy is appointed. Seamus brings considerable experience to the role and has already made a very positive contribution to the SCSI.

Finally, I would like to wish you and your families a very happy Christmas and New Year, and I look forward to meeting many of you in 2015 at one of our upcoming events.

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Pauline Daly
President
Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland