Global Irish Network

The establishment of a permanent global network of those invited to the first Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh and other influential members of the Diaspora was identified as an important objective by Forum participants.  In early 2010, the Global Irish Network was launched and now comprises of over 350 of the most senior Irish and Irish connected business people based in some 40 countries.   Network members come from a diversity of fields and have demonstrated a strong connection to Ireland and have a record of high achievement in international business or in assisting in the promotion of Ireland.  They provide Ireland with an invaluable resource of international expertise from which we can draw as we work towards economic recovery.

Over the past three years, Network members have proved to be particularly effective in a range of areas including:

  • contributing to job creation by supporting high level FDI Forums (such as the “Invest in Ireland” event hosted by President Clinton in New York in February 2012) and the Connect Ireland initiative;
  • providing practical support for Irish exporters by working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise Ireland on the Global Irish Contacts Programme, which connects the Diaspora with companies seeking to expand internationally;
  • expanding their role in the planning and organising of trade missions in their regions;
  • working to further strengthen our international reputation;
  • offering practical advice from experienced players in priority markets;
  • facilitating access to high-level decision makers in major corporations for the Government and Irish companies;
  • supporting a number of diaspora led initiatives, such as The Gathering 2013, the Farmleigh Fellowship Programme and the Irish Technology Leadership Group; and
  • helping to promote the agri-food sector.

Some 270 members of the Network members attended the 2nd Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle on 7-8 October, 2011.  The Forum was the first occasion the entire Network came together.  Over the course of the 2 days, participants discussed the Government’s priorities for economic renewal, job creation and the restoration of Ireland’s reputation abroad and explored how the Irish, at home and abroad, and those with a strong interest in Ireland, can work together to contribute to our overall efforts at economic renewal.  Videos and reports of the event, including the Progress Reports, are available throughout this website.  The level of progress made in delivering on the outcomes from the Forum clearly demonstrates the ability of the Network to deliver real, tangible economic benefits for the Irish at home and abroad in priority areas such as job creation, inward investment, support for our SME and export sectors and enhancing our international reputation. 

In May, 2013, the Taoiseach and Tánaiste invited network members to the third Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle on the 4th and 5th of October, 2013 where the overall focus of the Forum was on creating the right conditions for job creation. 

In addition to the 2009, 2011 and 2013 Forums, a series of Network meetings have also been hosted by Ministers and Irish diplomatic missions in various regions throughout the world, the most recent hosted by the Tánaiste in Berlin in October 2012. 

The Network is coordinated by a Secretariat within the Irish Abroad Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with our Ambassadors playing a key role in liaising with the members based within their area of responsibility.

At the 2011 Global Irish Economic Forum, the Tánaiste announced the introduction of a number of mechanisms to strengthen the capacity of the Global Irish Network including the appointment of an Advisory Group for the Global Irish Network. 

19 members of the Network from each of the main geographic areas represented at the 2011 Forum accepted the Tánaiste’s invitation to join the Advisory Group of the Global Irish Network.  The Group is charged with reviewing progress on the Forum outcomes, coordinating the overall work programme for the Global Irish Network and working with our Ambassadors in keeping the wider Network informed of developments.

The first meeting of the Group was held in Dublin on 11 July 2012 with the second, third and fourth meetings taking place on 11 February 2013, 15 July 2013 and 17 February 2014 respectively.


 Global Irish Network Advisory Group Members

Rosaleen Blair
CEO, Alexander Mann Solutions (based in Britain)

Loretta Brennan Glucksman
Chairman, The American Ireland Fund (based in United States)

Mary Campbell
Head of Global Cash and Trade Operations, Deutsche Bank AG (based in Germany)

Liam Casey
CEO, PCH International (based in China)

Fred Combe
Entrepreneur and Business Consultant, Natus Pte Limited (based in Singapore)

Avril Conroy
Vice President, TNK-BP (based in Russia)

Patrick Cosgrave
Founder, F.ounders (based in Ireland)

Susan Davis
Chairman, Susan Davis International (based in United States)

Irial Finan
Executive Vice President & President, The Coca Cola Company and Bottling Investments (based in United States)

Clem Garvey
Chief Operating Officer, Neopost SA (based in France)

John Hartnett
Founder and President, Irish Technology Leadership Group and Irish Technology Capital (based in United States)

Robert Kearns
President, Kearns Insurance Corporation; Founder & Chairman Ireland Park Foundation (based in Canada)

Gerald Lawless
Executive Chairman, Jumeirah Group (based in United Arab Emirates)

David McWilliams
Economist and Broadcaster (based in Ireland)

Sean O’Driscoll
Chairman and CEO, Glen Dimplex Group (based in Ireland)

Paul O’Sullivan
CEO, SingTel Optus Pty Ltd (based in Australia)

Paul Scales
Managing Director, Pacific Investments Asia Limited (based in Thailand)

Peter Sutherland
Chairman, Goldman Sachs International (based in Britain)

Willie Walsh
CEO, International Airlines Group (based in Britain)