What's your name?
What position do you hold?
Research professor and head of economics at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
What are your day to day responsibilities?
I am a co-editor of the Quarterly Economic Commentary and I conduct research on the housing sector and the economy generally. I’m also involved in the management of the Institute as I sit on the management committee and the Council of the ESRI.
What is your professional background?
I have been in the ESRI for the past 5 years. Prior to that I worked as a research economist in Teagasc and then in the Central Bank of Ireland. I was a manager of economic research and financial stability in the Bank. I also lectured in UCC. I have a Masters in Economic Science from UCC and a PhD in economics from NUI Maynooth.
Tell me about yourself away from work?
I am interested in sport, particularly hurling and I am also interested in current affairs and film.
You are speaking at the 2019 CIF Construction Management Summit. What are you speaking about?
The future prospects for the Irish housing sector. I see a number of issues that employers in the sector will have to deal with. For example, if housing supply is to increase substantially in line with government policy, construction companies will need to recruit workers from abroad in order to build the level of housing that Ireland needs. There are a number of barriers to achieving the labour the industry needs which I’ll be outlining at the summit.
What challenges do you see for leaders in the construction sector?
The main challenge at the moment is how to provide the increased housing supply so obviously required by the market. Going forward, it is clear that house price appreciation is set to cool somewhat; this period of lower house price growth will pose challenges for the sector. Obviously, Brexit is a significant risk to the Irish economy and the housing sector in particular. It’s likely to affect demand and supply of housing which will have major implications for home financing.
Where would you like to see the industry in 10 years’ time?
The Irish housing market has been characterised by significant swings in fortunes over the past 15 to 20 years; periods of high house price growth followed by significant slumps in price. This has also occurred with respect to housing supply. I think most people would look for a period of stability in the market where housing is available at a reasonable price for people looking to invest.
Kieran McQuinn is speaking at the CIF’s Construction Management Summit on March 29th in Croke Park. See www.constructionsummit.ie for details.