It will be a special St Patrick’s Day Down Under for the engineering sector as it marks the third anniversary of Engineers Ireland's Australia-New Zealand branch with a major conference on the theme of 'smart cities'. Engineers Ireland president Dr Kieran Feighan will open the Melbourne conference with a taped address via video. This year's St Patrick's conference, hosted by the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Engineers Ireland's Australia-New Zealand region, takes place on Friday, March 16, 2018, at 9am.

Are we creating communities we actually want to live in?

Its theme is 'Are we creating the communities we actually want to live in?'. Over the morning guests will hear from experts on liveability, smart cities, digital futures and more, with closing remarks from acting lord mayor of Melbourne, Arron Wood. Speakers in the first session include Lorraine Tighe of Smart Cities Consulting; Dr Iain Butterworth of the Department of Human Services; Adam Beck, the executive director, Smart Cities Aus/NZ; and Sami Makelainen, a technologist. In the second session, Arron Wood, the acting lord mayor of Melbourne, make some closing remarks, and that will be followed by a panel discussion which will be moderated by Frank Wyatt of the International Institute of Entrepreneurship. [caption id="attachment_41346" align="alignright" width="300"] L-R Kevin Donnelly (new PRO); Colin Dowdall (former secretary); Ollie Kelly (former treasurer); Darren McDonnell (former chairman); Jeff Robinson; Antoinette Walshe (new minutes secretary); Anthony Perkin; and Murt Coleman[/caption]

Networking opportunities for Irish engineers relocating to Australia

Past chairman Darren McDonnell told the 'Engineers Journal' that "since the first official meeting in March 2015 we have held more than 30 events in the Australia and New Zealand region, from Auckland to Adelaide. "We have assisted Irish engineers who have been relocating to Australia and have enabled networking for expat engineers in the Antipodes. "Our engineers are very talented and can be found in many sectors and locations, this has given us access to unique engineering projects. "We have been to projects at airports, ports and refineries, in acoustic laboratories and university engineering research facilities. We have also witnessed Australian-first basement retention systems." McDonnell said the future plan for our region would be "to consolidate our presence in our bases in Melbourne and Sydney and to grow into other regions, especially into New Zealand. "We will continue to support our members living half a world away from home". He added that there would be site visits and meetings in Sydney and Melbourne during 2018.

Great support among Irish-Australian engineering and business communities

"It has been a privilege to serve as the inaugural chair and many thanks to Colin Dowdall [past secretary] and Ollie Kelly [past treasurer] as inaugural office bearers in establishing this Australia and New Zealand region. We have had great support among the Irish-Australian engineering and business communities. "The support of the dedicated people at Clyde Road has also been key to our success. Best wishes to Joe Walsh, the incoming region chair, and committee members for 2018 and beyond." Other new committee members include Darren Brown, the deputy chairman; Mick Mongan, secretary; Stephen Muldoon, treasurer; Antoinette Walsh, support to secretary; and Kevin Donnelly, public relations officer. John Power, former director general of Engineers Ireland, registrar Damien Owens, and finance committee chairman Murt Coleman attended the inaugural meeting of the Australia New Zealand region in 2015. [caption id="attachment_41348" align="alignright" width="300"] Murt Coleman speaking at a region event in Australia last year[/caption]