New chair of An Bord Pleanála, Peter Mullan, and minister of state for planning and local government, Kieran O’Donnell TD, are among the keynote speakers at the Irish Planning Institute’s Annual Conference that will take place on April 18 and 19 in the Theatre Royal and Tower Hotel in Waterford city.

Coming at a critical time for the planning sector across the country, with the Planning and Development Bill passing through the oireachtas, the conference theme ‘planning for smart, sustainable and competitive cities’ has never been more relevant for professionals working in a range of areas including construction and sustainability, according to Dr Seán O’Leary, senior planner with the Irish Planning Institute.

Greater sustainability

The institute, the leading all-island professional membership organisation for spatial planners, will also welcome speakers and panels from across a range of topics to their two-day conference. This includes an examination of how the sector can support greater sustainability throughout the planning and construction process.

Encouraging professionals from across the planning, construction and sustainability sectors to attend the conference, Dr O’Leary said, “This conference comes at a critical time for planning in Ireland, with new legislation currently being scrutinised by the oireachtas and the revision of the National Planning Framework due to be published in the coming months.

“The topics discussed and debated by our speakers and delegates across the two days will be of relevance not only to planning practitioners but to leaders from a range of sectors and we would encourage all those interested, be they architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, project managers, developers and environmental and built heritage representatives to register, attend and contribute across the two days.

“Building understanding across the planning, construction and sustainability sectors will be critical as the country seeks to address the challenges presented by climate change and our growing population.”

Dr O’Leary also paid tribute to the local council in supporting the event and said: “We would like to thank Waterford City and County Council for its support for the 2024 Annual Planning Conference. It’s fitting that Waterford, a city critical to the development of the southeast region, should host a conference that will focus on ‘planning for smart, sustainable and competitive regions and cities.

"We also welcome the support of FuturEnergy Ireland given the importance of renewables in achieving this vision. We look forward to welcoming all delegates to the conference and exchanging ideas with them across the two days.”

Registration for the Irish Planning Institute’s Annual Conference is now open. To find out more visit or email