Providing a Stimulating Work Environment

Preface | 2006 Achievements | Serving a Changing Society | Supporting the Knowledge Economy | Protecting our Environment | Mapping our Earth Resources | Engaging with Society | Co-operating Abroad | Providing a Stimulating Work Environment | Using GSI Services

GSI is a division of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, which has a strong culture of investing in staff development (see GSI Core Values earlier). This policy has facilitated GSI to upskill its staff and provide high quality opportunities for improving work effectiveness and personal development. This ensures the organisation has the capacity to respond effectively to customer needs while at the same time individual staff members achieve their own personal fulfilment. With the support of the Department’s Staff Development Unit, significant investment was made throughout 2006 in GSI staff training. On average each staff member participated in 5.8 days training in 2006, in line with Civil Service standards. Forty percent of the training addressed management and personal effectiveness issues, while 25% involved attendance of specialised technical and professional courses. A further 20% was devoted to information technology and corporate governance (mainly finance) issues. The remaining 15% of training addressed health and safety issues, which are of critical importance for an organisation whose staff work in a wide range of environments, including offshore and underground.

The essential context for implementing the GSI Business Plan is the Government’s Performance Management and Development Systems (PMDS), which effectively empowers staff to identify and achieve their work goals. During 2006, non-established staff in GSI (except those on short-term contracts) were inducted into the PMDS. Training for staff was linked to developmental objectives under PMDS thereby ensuring its relevance. GSI staff participated in the Partnership Process through both the Central Partnership Committee of the Department and the GSI Partnership Committee, the latter focusing on issues of specific relevance to GSI. GSI participated in a review of the effectiveness of partnership in the Department. In recent years rates of participation in partnership have tended to be around 20% of all staff.

Good performance requires satisfactory support: GSI’s delivery of products and services is possible only because of the valued contribution of its support services under the management of the Assistant Director. While each is recognised specifically below, the results of the full range of work programmes would have been impossible without the commitment of all.

New GSI vehicleThe Technical Section manages the drilling programme as well as the Core Store in Sandyford Industrial Estate. Customers from universities and GSI visited on 23 occasions to examine cores. An additional 300 trays of core were collected from Minco Ltd and these were racked during 2006. GSI laboratories undertook petrographic work for a range of projects. Technical Section managed the Lecture Theatre, which was used on 188 occasions (179 in 2005) for seminars, lectures and training courses. The vehicle fleet, with five new vehicles purchased in 2006 (to replace four disposed of), reduced its average vehicle age from 5.3 years in 2005 to 3.7 years in 2006, a welcome development in the health and safety context.

The Information Management and IT Section, in conjunction with the Information Systems Division of the Department, supports a wide range of activities across GSI, including systems development. A concern of recent years has been the satisfactory development of new database architecture through upskilling in Oracle.

Cartography Section works increasingly closely with other sections in the delivery of integrated support to all GSI programmes and also to other Divisions of the Department. Typical GSI products are now more likely to be digital and Cartography Section staff participate fully in their development and delivery, while they still prepare display materials in hard copy for exhibitions, conferences and the like. Staff also participated in QC activity in offshore surveying associated with the INFOMAR Programme.

The Administration Section discharges key roles in relation to finance, staffing, accommodation and customer services. It undertakes these functions in cooperation with the Finance, Internal Audit, HR and Corporate Services Divisions of the Department, whose support is sincerely acknowledged. The section operates the GSI Customer Centre, which markets GSI products and provides a one-stop shop for customers, ensuring enquirers receive comprehensive and timely information.

Seventeen staff either joined or returned to their posts in GSI during 2006 while fifteen left. Four long-standing senior members of staff, who will be well known to many readers, departed from GSI. These were Deepak Inamdar, geophysicist, Geoff Wright, hydrogeologist, and Dick O’Brien, assistant driller, who all retired, and Donal Daly, hydrogeologist, who took up employment with the Environmental Protection Agency. All had enjoyed distinguished careers in GSI and we wish them every happiness and fulfilment in the future.

At the end of 2006, four staff members were appointed as Senior Geologists: Sean Cullen, Sarah Gatley, Monica Lee and Ray Scanlon. Each will have a key role in shaping the future of GSI. Congratulations to each of them!


Back to top



Each year GSI hosts the Cunningham Awards, named after the former Assistant Director, Mark Cunningham, and funded through the generosity of his family. Two College Prizes are awarded annually for the best undergraduate geological mapping projects and in December 2006 were awarded to Sophia Gold and Jonathon Moore, both of Trinity College Dublin.

The GSI Merit Awards for staff in 2006 were as follows:

Chris McDonnell - Special Award winnerSpecial Award: Chris McDonnell in recognition of his exceptional performance in relation to the work of GSI over many years and his committed delivery of quality service to all sections of GSI and their customers.

Team Award: The Groundwater staff team of Caoimhe Hickey, Taly Hunter-Williams, Coran Kelly, Michael Kennedy, Monica Lee and Michael Sheehy. For outstanding commitment to customer service and effective team building in the unusual and difficult circumstances where the Groundwater Programme temporarily lacked established professional staff.

Individual Awards:

Joseph Comerford: For the efficient, friendly and diligent service he provides to all staff – he goes out of his way to be helpful on a daily basis.

Charise McKeon: For the unstinting helpfulness and enthusiasm she brings to all aspects of her work. She makes a significant contribution to the work of Information Management Programme.

Eddie McMonagle: For his delivery of outstanding GIS services and his effective teamwork with a variety of colleagues throughout the GSI (both on and off shore!).

Sophie Preteseille: For her exceptional contribution to the work of GSI and the Copper Coast Geopark and her innovative development of educational services.

Ray Scanlon: For his significant contribution to all aspects of the Bedrock Programme, including its new map series and GIS products.

Congratulations to all our prizewinners!


The Du Noyer Geological Photography Competition is held annually in association with the Irish Geological Association. It encourages high quality and creative photography around geoscience and landscape subjects, designed to draw attention to the important contribution which geoscience makes to society. The competition is named for George Victor Du Noyer, who served as a geologist with GSI from 1847 to 1869 and whose sketches and pictures combined artistic skill and technical accuracy.

The 2006 prizes were awarded in December as follows:

1st Wojciech Szczygiel

2nd John Linehan

3rd Xavier Monteys

4th Robert Stewart, Sean Tomkins, Conor Power, Con O’Rourke

Congratulations to the winners, some of whose superb photos are featured in this report.

High Atlas Mountains, Morocco - overall winner

You are encouraged to consider entering the competition for 2007. Details of this competition are available at Entries should be sent to GSI, Beggars Bush, Haddington Road, Dublin 4, marking the envelope “Du Noyer Competition”, before 31 October 2007.

 Back to top