Welcome to the Local Government Tourism Conference 2024
‘Tourism – Leading the Change’

Thursday 18th & Friday 19th April

Killashee House Hotel, Naas, County Kildare

We are delighted that the Local Government Tourism Conference 2024 will take place on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th  April in Killashee House Hotel, Naas, County Kildare with the theme ‘Tourism – Leading the Change’.

The conference provides us with a wonderful opportunity to bring the sector and key stakeholders together to hear from a range of engaging speakers, to share knowledge and ideas and to look to the future of Tourism in Ireland.

Our Speakers look forward to Sharing their Knowledge and Expertise with You at this Exciting Event

Jonathan Healy

Tourism Conference 2024

Jonathan Healy

Conference M.C.

Jonathan Healy has spent a quarter of a century working at the highest levels of Irish broadcasting, having worked extensively with Newstalk, Sky News, RTE and Cork’s RedFM. He established Healy Communications in 2017 with the express goal of helping businesses and improve their storytelling.

A graduate of law from University College Cork, Jonathan has conducted thousands of interviews with people from all walks of Irish life. A skilled inquisitor and proven cross-platform content creator, he has cultivated extensive contacts across politics, business and public relations throughout the country.

Paul Kelly

Chief Executive
Fáilte Ireland

Paul Kelly

Chief Executive, Fáilte Ireland

Paul Kelly has been the Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland since 2017. Paul has led Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, through the deepest crisis ever for our country’s tourism industry. His work now is focused on driving the sustained and sustainable recovery of the industry to ensure tourism contributes even more to the economic, social, cultural and environmental future of Ireland. This future will build on Fáilte Ireland's previous successes including the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, the Dublin brand refresh and The Gathering.

Paul’s leadership has led Fáilte Ireland to be listed in the top 20 best large organisations to work in for three consecutive years and listed in the top 5 most trusted organisations in the country. In 2020 Paul was named as Ireland's Most Trusted Leader by Great Places to Work. Before his appointment as CEO of Fáilte Ireland, Paul held several management and marketing leadership roles. Raised in a small retail family business, he began his career with Procter & Gamble UK. Paul then went on to senior executive positions with Diageo Ireland, Aviva and the UCD Smurfit Business School. Paul Kelly is a native of Co. Wexford and a Commerce graduate from University College Dublin. He is married and has four children.

Joanne Grehan

Director of Services
Mayo County Council

Joanne Grehan

Director of Services, Mayo County Council

As Chief Executive Officer of the County Enterprise Board Joanne led its transition into the Local Enterprise Office in Mayo County Council in 2014. She was appointed Director of Services in 2015.

Joanne has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors having previously worked with the Western Development Commission, Stena Line, UCD Michael Smurfit School of Business and Dublin Institute of Technology (TU Dublin).

A graduate of Dublin Institute of Technology (TU Dublin), she holds a Master’s Degree in Tourism, Management & Marketing and has studied Economic Development, Leadership & Negotiation at Hibernia College, Boston College and Harvard University. Joanne holds a number of Board positions and is a qualified Executive and Leadership Coach and a member of the Association for Coaching.

Dr. Matt Kennedy


Dr Matt Kennedy

Director, Sustainable Development Leader, Arup

Dr. Matt Kennedy is a Director and Sustainable Development Leader in Arup. He has over 25 years of sustainable energy, climate resilience and innovation experience working across government, industry and academia. As Global Leader Matt directs climate strategy, manages stakeholder relations with key clients, and shapes climate offerings for cities and businesses. Matt has  been the EU lead negotiator at COP21 and has delivered mitigation adaptation initiatives for the UN and World Bank in Africa, Asia and Middle East. Matt holds a PhD in Engineering from Trinity College Dublin and is a fellow of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. Matt is Board member of Fáilte Ireland and An Post.

Conference Programme

A Time of Change


Moira Murrell, Chair
County & City Management Association (CCMA)
Chief Executive, Kerry County Council


Official Conference Opening
Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts
Gaeltacht, Sport & Media (DTCAGSM).


Tourism & Change – The Department’s Perspective
Cian Ó Lionáin, Assistant Secretary
Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media (DTCAGSM)


Sustainable Development of Tourism for the Future
Paul Kelly, Chief Executive Officer
Fáilte Ireland


Tourism Ireland – Marketing Plans
Alice Mansergh, Chief Executive Designate
Tourism Ireland


Tea/Coffee Break

Sustainable Tourism & Destination Development


Destination Development Plans
Brian O'Flynn
Head of Ireland’s Ancient East
Fáilte Ireland


Thoroughbred Country’s Journey
Laura Magee
Chief Executive
Thoroughbred Country


Embedding Sustainability within our Sustainable Tourism Industry
Dr Matt Kennedy


Local Government’s Role in Sustainable Tourism: Opportunities & Challenges
Nigel Russell​
General Manager – Consulting


Great Western Greenway Mayo – A Sustainable Destination
Joanne Grehan​
Director of Services Economic Development & Community Engagement
Mayo County Council


Tourism & Climate Action Measures
Jenny De Saulles
Director of Sector Development
Fáilte Ireland



Innovation in Tourism


Driving Sustainable, Inclusive and Innovative Tourism development. Dublin as the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024
Mary Mac Sweeney Executive Manager (Director of Service) Culture, Recreation & Economic Services Department
Dublin City Council (DCC)


Case Study:  Clare Tourism Strategy 2030
Leonard Cleary
Director of Tourism
Clare County Council


Development of Iconic Tourism Attraction at Sliabh Liag, County Donegal
Liam Ward
Director of Services - Community Development & Planning Services
Donegal County Council


Responding to COVID-19 & Maintaining Momentum
Fearghal Reidy
Director of Services - Strategic & Economic Development
Cork City Council


International Benchmarking / What Makes a Great Destination
Terry Stevens
Founder, Stevens & Associates


Panel Discussion Q&A


Tea/Coffee Break

Re-imagining Local Tourism – Importance of Place


Brigid 1500
Kildare County Council & Louth County Council
Paula O’Brien
Senior Executive Officer
Kildare County Council

Colette Moss
Senior Executive Officer
Louth County Council


Center Parcs Longford Story
David Robinson
Leisure Services Manager
Center Parcs Longford Forest


Connecting People Place & Opportunity
Michael Nevin
Acting Director of Services – Economic Development/Tourism
Longford County Council


Graiguenamanagh Camper Park and Hub
Martin O’Brien
Voluntary Chairperson of Barrow Valley Community Development
(Tourism Hub)


Panel Discussion


Prev Next

EU Just Transition for Tourism


EU Just Transition
Orla Carroll
Director Product Development
Fáilte Ireland


Strategic Alliance for Just Transition
Lisa Kealey
Recreation Manager in Land & Habitats
Bord Na Móna


EU Just Transition and Tourism
Andrew Murray
Acting Director of Services – Planning, Economic Development, Regeneration, Tourism, Heritage
Offaly County Council


Regenerative Tourism
Tina O’Dwyer
Managing Director
The Tourism Space


Panel Discussion



Global Irish & The Power of Networks


Global Ireland Strategy
John Concannon
Director General Global Irish Division
Department of Foreign Affairs


Bringing the Ryder Cup 2027 to Adare, Limerick
Elaine O’Connor
Ryder Cup Co-Ordinator
Limerick City & County Council


Global Irish Festivals & Festival Strategy
Ciara Sugrue
Head of Festivals and Events
Fáilte Ireland


Halloween Festival Derry
Aeidin McCarter
Head of Culture, Derry City & Strabane District Council
Tourism Northern Ireland


Puca Festival Trim/Athboy
Des Foley
Director of Services – Planning & Development, Economic, Enterprise & Tourism Development
Meath County Council


Unlocking Belfast’s Worldclass Waterfront – A Story of Collaboration
Kerrie Sweeney
Chief Executive
Belfast Maritime Trust


The Shackleton Experience
Annette Aspell
Director of Services Housing and Regeneration
Kildare County Council


Panel Discussion


Conference Close
Sonya Kavanagh
Chair, CCMA BETIUER Committee
Chief Executive Kildare County Council



Register Now

Registration is available for the full conference (€220), Thursday 18th April 2024 only (€150) and half-day Friday 19th April 2024 only (€70).