The Institute of Refrigeration Ireland (IRI) recently held its inaugural Annual Awards Dinner at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Santry, Co Dublin. This is a new event in the Institute’s calendar and the intention was to create an additional networking opportunity in the context of a social gathering, as opposed to the many technical evenings held by the IRI. The occasion was also used to introduce a new series of Annual Awards.
Inaugural IRI Awards Dinner
The decision by the IRI Council to adopt this approach was vindicated with 130 participants enjoying a very successful evening – the atmosphere was extremely relaxed and friendly with trading competitors mixing and sharing ideas and opinions in a way they normally would not. Many brought their partners and this in turn reinforced the social element of the evening. The roving magician proved particularly entertaining, as did the after-dinner music and dancing.
The presentation of the Annual Awards capped an excellent occasion and provided the perfect backdrop in which to recognise and acknowledge the contribution of individuals who have given so much for the betterment of the industry.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the first, hopefully annual, Institute of Refrigeration Ireland Awards Dinner. I would like to particularly welcome Dr Andy Pearson, President of the IOR and Calum McKenzie, Chairperson of the Scottish Refrigeration Association.
“On preparing this President’s address I had started to look at our industry in 2012 and the effects that the current economic conditions were having on companies directly involved in the Ref/AC and heatpump markets. There is no doubt that we are in the middle of probably the most difficult time our industry has seen for many years.
“Reduced client spending, increased competition, reduced margins and difficult payment conditions have all been
exasperated by new European Legislation for F-Gas users, Company Certification, additional employee training requirements and PED to name but a few. While this is something that most industry people understand the need for, and accept, it is yet another burden for companies to carry.
“The EPA and a multiple of other Government bodies have focused on ways of reducing Ireland’s CO2 emission levels for future generations and there is no doubt that additional legislative requirements will be forthcoming.
“While considering all of these current and future influences on our industry, it became clear that these circumstances are the very reason that the Institute of Refrigeration Ireland has been established. In the past the Institute has been asked ‘what do you do for me?’ and ‘why should I
join the Institute?’
“In my opinion the answer is simple – we need a credible voice in our industry that can be heard at the highest level in both Ireland and Europe … possibly even at global level. And, we need to have an Institute that can inform and assist our Industry as to its legislative and environmental responsibilities while working on our behalf.
“In the last number of years the Institute has been actively involved with the EPA, DoeClg, SEAI and IBEC to assist in the smooth implementation of European Legislation that will have direct or indirect effects on the way we as an industry work, and with no small measure of success I might add.
“Because of this, the Institute is now seen by these Government bodies as the first point of contact when they need to inform our industry of proposed legislation and changes to existing legislative requirements.
“The Institute has also had regular contact with representative organisations in Europe like IOR, SRA, AREA and globally with ASHRAE and ARC where additional knowledge of how industries in these countries implement and manage legislative changes can be imparted to our members here in Ireland.
“Since its inception, the Institute has championed the cause of achieving the best for our industry through a focus on increased industry expertise, compliance with legislation, representation at Government level and recognition of suitable training programs.
“To allow this to happen the Institute has created a new interactive website, implemented a new CPD facility, been involved in the implementation of the new F-Gas Registration Scheme, had direct influence in the implementation of the SEAI/ACA scheme, negotiated with the EPA on WEEE impact, been involved with SEAI for the BEW fund and promoted multiple seminars on relevant industry topics.
“In addition, membership cards, certification, newsletters and access to shared technical documents have also been provided to all members. This is what the Institute is able to offer our industry and that is the real value of being part of the IRI. Of course none of this would be possible without the support of all the members, associates, affiliates and students who have joined over the last number of years.
“However I would like to personally acknowledge the hard work and dedication from the IRI Council and sub-committees who give their valuable time on a voluntary basis, and without whose support the Institute would not be in the position it is today.
“We have a tough time ahead of us in all sectors if the current economic climate does not change dramatically, but it is sometimes easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of our everyday activities just how much we as an industry offer to our customers. The level of technical expertise, application knowledge, innovation and system design is exceptional and we need to remind ourselves of the value this gives to our customers, even if they find it difficult to acknowledge.
“To sum up, the Institute will continue to do its best for our industry, through your continued support, and we will always strive to be ‘Your voice in our industry’. Thank your for your attention and on behalf of the dinner and Awards committee I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.”
Apprentice of the Year
Dave O’Riordan, Head Lecturer, CIT, accepted the Apprentice of the Year Award from IRI President Dave Killalea on behalf of Aidan Lowry. Typifying the times that are in it, Aidan is currently working in Australia.
Pursuit of Tedchnical Excellence
IRI President Dave Killalea and immediate past President Seamus Kerr presented Vincent Weldon of Tech Refrigeration & Air Conditioning with the award for pursuing technical excellence outside the normal or legislative requirements for training their own engineers.
Contribution to Industry
IRI President Dave Killalea and immediate past President Seamus Kerr presented George McCann with his award for the outstanding contribution he has made across all industry segments. George was also presented with an Honorary Fellowship of the IRI.