What's your name?
What’s your current job?
Tax Partner, KPMG Cork
How long have you held the position?
Over 10 years - I relocated to Cork in 2006 to head up our tax team in Munster and was promoted to partner a year or so later.
Can you describe your daily work routine?
I usually start working about 8.00, sometimes a little earlier. I generally spend the first hour or so catching up on matters from overnight and planning my day ahead. The remainder of my day will be a mix of planned meetings (internal and external usually via Zoom or Teams), drafting or reviewing advice notes prior to issuance and dealing with the unexpected! Finishing time is unpredictable. Something unexpected generally arises most days which makes life quite interesting. If I am running past 6.30pm I will generally take some personal time out to spend with family and / or go for a jog. I might then return to work for an hour or so before closing out the day.
What is your professional background?
I went to school in St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny. On leaving school, I signed a “6 year” training contract to become a chartered accountant. I worked initially in a small practice in Kilkenny for a man named Liam Brady, no relation to the footballer of same name. Liam was a real professional. I particularly liked working on tax related matters and with Liam’s consent and encouragement I applied to work in a Big 6 (now Big 4) tax department. I joined KPMG’s tax department and worked for the next 10 years or so in Dublin. A lot of my clients operated in the construction or property development sector. I moved to Cork in 2006 to lead our tax practice there. I was promoted to partner a year or so later and have been based in Cork ever since.
Tell me about yourself away from work?
I am married to Clare and we have two children, Grace (10) and Brian (9). I love practically all sports. GAA, rugby, karate, golf, athletics and national hunt horse racing would be on my shortlist! Whilst now a committed Douglas GAA fan I remain a “cat” when it comes to county colours. I have greatly missed getting back home to “Marble City” to see family and friends over the course of 2020.
Tell us something very few people know about you?
I like reading John Le Carre novels.
You are speaking at the forthcoming 2020 CIF Southern Construction Summit. What is the focus of your talk?
I am participating in the panel discussion titled “Getting back on track”. Ireland’s population is estimated to rise by at least one million by 2040 with 75% of the predicted growth being outside Dublin. This is a golden opportunity for the Southern Region to flourish and grow.
As an example of what is achievable it is worth noting the great strides already made over the last 5 years to deliver on the immense opportunity presented by the Cork Docklands. It is vital that the positive momentum experienced over this period is reignited. Given the impact of Covid 19, this will likely require some positive interventions by the State and by State bodies. The announcement of the Cork Docklands delivery office, a partnership between the Land Development Authority and Cork City Council is a positive move in this direction. As noted earlier, it is my view that the development opportunity presented by Cork docklands is unparalleled. Where executed appropriately, it can create a sustainable urban centre, a place where people are happy to work, live and play. It can also act as the keystone to create the type of counterbalance to Dublin that is envisaged by Plan 2040. Minister McGrath’s announcement on Budget Day of €10 billion in Exchequer resources for critical projects, in particular, name checking the N22, the Dunkettle Interchange are significant and welcomed. Some additional targeted interventions would also be welcome in the tax code and I will explore these in the talk.
Our Southern Region has world leading universities (from UCC, UL to WIT and MTU), global technology and pharmaceutical companies and offers a really attractive place to live in terms of areas of natural beauty, great culture and friendly, welcoming local communities. Given all these existing strings to our bow there is an onus on all of us in the business communities to work with and ensure the timely and efficient execution of the key infrastructure commitments in the Region. This investment in quality infrastructure will curate a thriving Southern economy and allow it to become a truly modern and sustainable region.
What in your opinion are the key opportunities for growth and development in the Southern Region?
We’ve seen over €1 billion being pumped into property investment in Cork over the past five years, from both Irish and international investors, with a lot of this in the commercial / office space. The demand for good quality office space is unlikely to disappear, while COVID-19 may negatively impact in the short term, the Cork market looks strong in the medium to long term.
There is also a strong pipeline of developments in the Region. As mentioned previously we have the Cork Docklands which is targeted as one of Europe’s flagship docklands projects and offers significant opportunities with the potential to double the size of the city. Meanwhile “A Vision for Colbert Station Quarter” in Limerick is offering an innovative development to achieve 10,000 homes. While Waterford City and County Council has granted planning for the €500 million redevelopment of the city’s North Quays. These projects will be transformative to their localities. Moreover, with the correct infrastructure and investment to support and incubate the success of these developments, they have the potential to be transformative for the whole Southern Region.
The Southern Region’s concentration of the world’s largest life sciences and pharmaceutical companies has seen a surge in activity during the pandemic. The level of new jobs announced across the region from Regeneron in Limerick to Pfizer in Cork reflects the strong proposition the Southern Region continues to offer as a location for continued inward investment.
How do you see the Southern Region changing over the next decade in terms of key infrastructure?
I’ve noted several large-scale pipeline developments across the Region in Limerick, Cork and Waterford. These are in addition to the already significant investment we’ve already seen in Cork city. To truly unlock the potential of these investments we need to ensure that the correct infrastructure is in place. The correct infrastructure (new hospitals, schools, expanded university campuses, and residential solutions etc) can offer connectivity in the region which will enable businesses of all types and sizes to flourish.
In delivering this vital infrastructure we must ensure we do so in an environmentally responsible way. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill encourages Local and Regional authorities to develop local climate action plans which include both mitigation and adaption measures in line with national policy, plans and strategies which also recognise two or more local authorities can collaborate on regional based actions. The development of key infrastructure in the Region should align into the Metropolitan Area Transport Strategies in Limerick, Cork and Waterford including commuter rail, bus corridors, light rail, park and rides, walking and cycling infrastructure and road networks.
By investing in infrastructure across the Southern Region we open the Region’s possibilities to everyone.
Michael will be speaking at the 2020 virtual Southern Construction Summit on November 19.
For more information see www.southernconstruct.ie