The 2014 Spatial Planning Graduate Network Forum


Date: Tuesday 17th June, 3.30pm – 5.30pm

Venue: Bord na Mona, Newbridge, Kildare

Students & unwaged €5 / SPGN members €10 / Non-SPGN members: €20

This event is eligible for 2 IPI CPD credits, certificates provided.

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The 2014 SPGN Forum is being hosted at Bord na Mona Head Offices, Main Street, Newbridge, Co. Kildare.

The Bord na Mona offices are located midway on the eastern side of Newbridge Main Street (between Penney’s and St Conleth’s Park GAA).

The 123 and 126 bus services halt opposite the Bord na Mona entrance and there are regular train services to Newbridge Station. A Further public transport information is available at .

Parking is NOT AVAILABLE at Bord na Mona. Off-street parking is available at the Whitewater Shopping Centre, well signposted entering the town.

Please allow for Schools traffic during mid-afternoon.



The 2014 Spatial Planning Graduate Network Forum deals with the problem of delivering strategic energy infrastructure, particularly renewable energy generation and transmission systems, in the context of community and landscape. Differing perspectives are presented, with the aim of achieving an improved understanding of current problems and potential solutions.

Welcome and IntroductionGabriel D’Arcy, CEO, Bord na MA?na

Panel Chair:Robbie Shortt, Journalist, RTE

Delivering Strategic Energy Infrastructure John Reilly, Head of Wind Energy Development, Bord na MA?na

Sustainable Energy Policy IssuesMatt Kennedy, Low Carbon Technologies Manager, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

Energy and the Irish Planning SystemStephen Dowds, Planning Consultant

A Community Perspective on Energy SchemesBrian Maher& Theresa Carter, Laois Environmental Action Forum

The Spatial Planning Graduate Network is a community of planners who have graduated from the Dublin Institute of Technology’s M.Sc. in Spatial Planning. The Network provides opportunities for graduates to meet and keep up-to-date on planning practice, issues and developments. It runs CPD sessions and organises Forums on topical areas which need debate. The Network intends, through the forum and its online platform at www.spatialplanning,ie, to facilitate critical discussion of the state of Spatial Planning in Ireland.

Speaker Profiles

Robert Shortt is a journalist with RTE’s Primetime programme. Robert began his career with RTE in 1999 becoming Business Correspondent in 2001. In 2005, he become RTE’s Washington Correspondent covering stories such as Hurricane Katrina and the election of Barack Obama. Since returning to Dublin, he has worked in Prime Time, winning a Smurfit Business Journalist Award in 2012 for ‘The Bailout’ -a documentary on Ireland’s economic collapse. Prior to joining RTE, Robert worked for the BBC. He is a graduate of UCD and the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

Gabriel D’Arcy was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Bord na MA?na in February 2008. Prior to joining Bord na MA?na, he held a number of senior management positions in the Kerry Group and previously served as a Captain in the Defence Forces. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) from University College Galway, an M.Sc. from University College Dublin and an M.B.A. from Kingston University Business School. He is a member of the Institute of Directors.

Dr. John Reilly is a member of Bord na Mona’s Senior Executive team with specific responsibility for the PowerGen Business Unit. He manages the performance of the existing generation assets within the Group, which includes both thermal and renewable technologies. He is also responsible for the strategic development of the pipeline of projects in the generation portfolio. John has almost 15 years experience in the energy sector and is currently a member of Eurelectric’s Environment and Sustainable Development Policy committee, as well as the EU Budget 2014-20 Task Force and IBEC’s Energy Policy Executive, where he chairs the Climate Change Working Group. He is also on the Board of the National Electricity Association of Ireland (NEAI).

Matt Kennedy is responsible for energy technology and research development in SEAI. Matthew manages the National Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Programme in SEAI as well as managing the Energy Theme of the EU’s Horizon 2020 in Ireland. Matthew is Vice Chair for the International Energy Agency (IEA) Implementation Agreement on Renewable Energy Technology Deployment (RETD) and is lead EU negotiator for technology transfer under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Matthew has been responsible for government technology strategy for the past 12 years and holds a PhD in Engineering from Trinity College Dublin, Master degrees from NUI Galway and University College Dublin.

Stephen Dowds is a qualified planner who has worked in all aspects of the Irish planning system, including several strategic energy infrastructure schemes. Stephen has worked extensively on planning appeals both as a senior inspector in An Bord PleanA?la and in submitting appeals to the Board. He has worked in legal proceedings and arbitrations. Based in Galway, Stephen runs his own practice with extensive experience of planning authorities, development plans and planning issues in the west.

Brian Maher is a qualified planner in practice in Abbeyleix, Co Laois. Brian is involved with many local community groups including chairman of Abbeyleix Business & Community Action Forum (ABC) and chairman of Abbeyleix Heritage Company as well as the environmental representative on Laois County Council SPC and is proposed by LEAF to the LCDC.

Theresa Carter is coordinator of LEAF the regional Transition Hub and convener of the People’s Energy Charter. Community led development towards a sustainable, low carbon economy and society.