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In Conversation: Colin Cleary, CECA President

CECA President, Colin Cleary

Taking the helm – a new President for CECA


(First Published in CIF Construction Magazine (September 2016)


Colin Cleary began his two-year term as CECA President this summer. He took time out to speak with Martin Foran about the challenges facing the industry as well as his hopes and plans for his term in office.



“Down through the years, Ireland always had a Capital Investment Plan set out,” says Colin, who is Operations Manager with Lagan Construction Group.

“Everyone could tell where the country was going from a business plan perspective – as regards what projects were coming up.

“We don’t really have anything with a lot of meat on it at the moment.

“We have some fairly loose plans out there which give an indication of what may happen but we need some more certainty in our industry as to what is coming down the line – what projects are there – so we can plan for the future.”

Clarity, says Colin, is what it is all about.

This of course echoes the overall role of CECA as Cleary sees it. The organisation, he says, brings joined-up thinking “as to how we should approach the construction of some of our major infrastructural projects in this country.

“It also has a role in ensuring we have compliance across our industry with respect to rates of pay and things like adherence to legislation which is important,” he adds.

The organisation has been going from strength to strength in recent years with great attendance at meetings says Colin who has been on the Executive Committee for eight years and was Vice President for a year prior to taking the top job.

“We have had fabulous attendances at our bi-monthly meetings in the last couple of years,” Cleary says.

“Companies are really buying into the idea of sending a representative along.”


Its an exciting time in many ways to be coming to the job. One of the latest developments comes in the form of the new CECA Excellence Awards, taking place for the first time this year.

“We would hope that we can demonstrate – not only to members but to the public as well – some of the great projects our members are capable of delivering,” says Cleary.

“This is what we want to recognise and promote.”

CECA members have shaped the modern Ireland in which we live but there is a lot more to their work than just the highest profile, highest visibility projects like motorways of course.

“The motorway infrastructure is a something a lot of people see because they use it day-by-day but there are other projects that may go unrecognised,” says Colin Cleary.

“Flood schemes may not be as evident to people – until the flood happens.

“It could be once every few years and it is only when this occurs that people might realise the fine projects which have been built.

“There are many fantastic pieces of infrastructure which we need to recognise people for.”

The first opportunity to do so will finally arrive at the organisation’s annual dinner on 16 September.


In his new role, Colin follows the highly-regarded Pat Lucey who he describes as, “very well respected and well recognised in the Civil Engineering industry in Ireland”.

“I would hope that I could keep pace with what Pat did in his time,” says Colin, looking at the challenges that lie ahead for his tenure.

On this subject, he notes: “The government coffers would indicate we are in a better position as a country but one challenge is about getting this translated on the ground.

“I don’t doubt that government has a difficult job in balancing the books and ensuring everyone gets a piece of the financial pie – but it is important to get real clarity around what we can invest in in infrastructure.

“It’s not just investing for the sake of investing – we certainly need key pieces of infrastructure in Ireland.

“We need our flood schemes constructed and water mains and sewage infrastructure upgraded and the motorway network is by no means complete.

“Cork-Limerick is a key link and close to my own heart. It’s something this country needs to look at building.

“The Western Corridor is something we also need to look seriously at.”


As to other issues, says Colin: “When we talk to members their concerns also include the risks they take on as contractors under the Public Works Contract, even though that has improved with the amendments.

“We welcome the government’s engagement with respect to the amendments they have undertaken and we hope to continue improving the contracts we operate under in this country by continuous dialogue with them.”


Click Here to read the interview in September issue of CIF Construction magazine