Neale Richmond TD

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Minister’s Welcome – 10.40am

Neale Richmond TD was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with special responsibility for Employment Affairs and Retail Business, and the Department of Social Protection, on 13 January 2023.

Prior to his role as Minister of State, he was elected as a TD for Dublin Rathdown in the 2020 General Election. In April 2016 he was elected to Seanad Éireann, on the Labour Panel, where he was the Fine Gael Spokesperson on European Affairs and chair of the Seanad Special Select Committee on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

Neale served for seven years on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council where he was first elected in 2009, and then re-elected in 2014.

Neale served for two years as a member of the EU’s Committee of the Regions, leading the Irish delegation, acting as Rapporteur on the Opinion on a more responsible trade and investment policy.

Neale holds a BA in History and an MA in politics from UCD.

Dermot O’Leary

Chief Economist – Goodbody

Economic Outlook – 11am

Dermot O’Leary is Chief Economist at Goodbody with experience working the financial services industry.

He is skilled in Capital Markets, macroeconomics, Econometrics and Asset Management.

He has had extensive international media presence, including on CNBC, Financial Times, BBC, RTE and Irish Times. His economic research focuses on forecasting of the Irish and UK economies with a particular focus on property and banks, with a big interest in public policy debate and a member of the organising committee of the Annual Irish Economic Policy Conference


Fergus McMahon – Commercial Director, Cairn Homes

Economic Outlook with a Focus on Housing – 11.20am

Fergus McMahon is an experienced Business Manager and Chartered Surveyor who has proven abilities in many different scenarios, from strong people management striving for cohesive team development to astute commercial management requiring continuous strategy review.

This understanding comes from the capacity to identify his own strengths and limitations and identifying the same characteristics in others.

He has developed his career by constantly seeking out new challenges to maintain a freshness and enthusiasm in his approach to his work which he strives to impart to others.

Hugh Wallace

Architect, Director – Douglas Wallace Consultants

Empty Homes: Unlocking the Opportunity – 11.40am

Hugh Wallace has over 40 years’ experience in the Architecture / Interior Design Industry and is renowned for his insight and knowledge as a leader in design industry in Ireland.

Hugh’s primary focus is on the design direction, the most appropriate and effective solution of each individual project. Working alongside the client to assess, define and maximise the opportunity of a project whether in architecture or interior design or both. He is able to draw on practical knowledge and experience gained across a number of significant developments in the retail, commercial and hotel sectors.

As the founding director Douglas Wallace Consultants, he has a great depth of knowledge in delivering award winning developments such as Dundrum Shopping Centre, Winner ICSC Europe Shopping Centre, Ashford Castle Development Master Plan, The G Hotel, Galway, Peter Mark Hairdressing, Ireland, KBC Bank rollout of branch hubs, Harcourt Development redevelopment of Galway SC.

Hugh is a judge on Home of the Year 2015 on national broadcaster RTE now in its ninth series and presenter of The Great House Revival where he is finishing the fourth season to be aired in the spring of 2024.

Hugh was delighted to be awarded “Lifetime Achievement Award “for his contribution to the Design Industry in Ireland in 2014. As a past president of the Institute of Designers in Ireland he has used the opportunity to promote the importance of design and promote that clients use architects and designers to deliver tangible results.  

Dr. Ciaran Byrne

Director of the National Retrofit Directorate, SEAI

The Retrofitting Journey – 3.15pm

Dr Ciaran Byrne is currently the Director of the National Retrofit Directorate in Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). In this position his key priority is to build the National Retrofit Directorate within SEAI and design the business and financial model capable of mobilising the effective delivery of over 55,000 BER B2 retrofits per annum from 2023. This target will be achieved through a network of ‘One Stop Shops’, creating a national demand for retrofit amongst homeowners through marketing, addressing operational bottlenecks, smart finance options and raising awareness of the multiple benefits of undertaking a retrofit. One of Ciaran’s other priorities is activating the education and construction sectors to ensure appropriately skilled labour is available to deliver Ireland’s retrofit ambition.

Prior to joining the SEAI, Ciaran held CEO roles in two other State Agencies the Central Fisheries Board and Inland Fisheries Ireland, between 2008 and 2020. Ciaran is a qualified management accountant and served his time working in industry where he gained a deep understanding of business, and the importance of cost controls and focusing on core objectives. Ciaran is a Chartered Director and was admitted into the Institute of Directors in 2017, and he has just completed a master’s degree in business studies. Ciaran has degree and Ph.D. in zoology from Trinity College and has authored several peer reviewed scientific publications.

Greg Fry

Social Media Expert

Key Digital Marketing Trends – 4pm

Greg Fry is an International Social Media trainer who delivers LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Digital Video and Social Business Strategy training and workshops for institutions such as the Digital Marketing Institute, Sure Skills and the Digital Skills Academy.

He has worked with top multinationals including Ulster Bank, Vodafone, Microsoft, Symantec, Virgin Media, Abbott Labs and Coca Cola Hellenic.

Alongside training, he works as a Social Business Consultant. “I believe that in order to make social media work for your business you must have a clear business goal, a clearly defined strategy and make sure that everything you do is measurable.”