Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

Irish town planners making their mark in London

Building a network of connections is key for newly arrived construction professionals

LITP founders James Donlan, Alan Hannify and Colm Ryan

Wed, Apr 9, 2014, 14:29


James Donlon, Alan Hannify, Colm Ryan

Irish emigrants have always played a role in the physical development of London. Traditionally, that role has been played by construction workers, but there has been a recent shift in emphasis, with young Irish professionals such as town planners playing an increasingly integral part in the modern growth of the city.

As town planners ourselves, we noticed there was a steady stream of us choosing London as a destination for work since the downturn hit Ireland in 2008. But despite our good qualifications, we were arriving over without the professional connections we would have fostered back home. With this in mind, we established the London Irish Town Planners (LITP) Network last October, to provide a medium to exchange advice, experiences and potential opportunities for collaboration among people with an affinity to Ireland.

The network has grown rapidly since its formation and now boasts a membership of almost 100 town planners, with a mixture of people working in the private sector, local authorities and other governmental organisations.

The proximity of London to home is a key factor in its attractiveness as a work destination. It’s status as a world city, with a growing critical mass and inward investment, provides the optimum conditions for a vibrant and innovative planning and development sector, with plenty of opportunities for graduates to work on exciting, large-scale projects.

Upcoming LITP events will feature leading speakers from the planning and development industry, project specific talks, and site visits to interesting buildings and developments around London. The next one takes place on Thursday May 22nd.

This article forms part of a series on Irish emigrants in Britain on the Generation Emigration blog this week to coincide with the President’s historic State visit. For full coverage of the events, including live blogs by our correspondents in London, galleries, live videos and more, see The Irish Times State Visit subsite.