Ambassador-Mari-MIYOSHIThe Ireland Japan Association would like to acknowledge the gracious support of our patron, Japanese Ambassador to Ireland H.E. Mrs. Mari Miyoshi.

Council Members

CHAIRPERSON – Ms. Darina Slattery
Unique Japan Tours / Japan Ireland Travel

Darina first joined the council of the Ireland Japan Association in 2008 and subsequently sat as chairperson from 2009-2011. Her passion for Japan began in her teens, where she graduated with a BA in Business Studies and Japanese from University of Ulster in 2000, of which one year was spent at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo. She continued her education at the Smurfit School of Business and graduated with an MBS in International Marketing in 2003 which soon after, led to her setting up her own companies, Japan Ireland Travel (JIT) & Unique Japan Tours (UJT). UJT are now Europe’s leading Japan travel expert company offering holidays of all types (groups, tailor-made, independent) for any nationality going to Japan while JIT welcomes Japanese people into Ireland on private, individual, and tailor-made holidays all over Ireland. 2017 will mark the celebration of Darina and her team’s 10 years in business.

Yasuyuki-OZEKIVICE-CHAIR – Mr. Yasuyuki Ozeki (JETRO)

JETRO, or the Japan External Trade Organization, is a government-related organization that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. Originally established in 1958 to promote Japanese exports abroad, JETRO’s core focus in the 21st century has shifted toward promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small to medium size Japanese firms maximize their global export potential. In Ireland, Yasuyuki Ozeki works for JETRO. On a personal level, Yasuyuki is known for his epic cycling journey from Japan to Ireland in 1998.

Mr. Raymond Hegarty, EX-OFFICIO

raymond-hegartyRaymond Hegarty is a company director and IP (intellectual property) strategist. He is the first Irish person to be recognized by Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the world’s Top 300 IP strategists. He has lived and worked in Japan for 5 years and has had a long involvement with the Ireland Japan Association on cultural and business subcommittees as well as Council membership and several terms as chairperson. Mr Hegarty has a BE, MBA and a postgraduate diploma in European law from the National University of Ireland as well as an LLM in intellectual property law from the University of Strasbourg (France).

hiroMr. Hiro Ino (Hiro Ino & Co. Solicitors)

Hiro graduated from the University of Limerick with a LL.B. in Law and European Studies in 2003. He continued his studies at the Law Society of Ireland and went on to qualify as a solicitor. He now resides in Dublin where he practises law at his niche firm, Hiro Ino & Co. Solicitors. Hiro has previously worked in fund accounting with an investment bank based in the IFSC and has also spent time as a Data Editor with Financial Times Interactive Data , specialising in fixed income market for Asia-Pacific region in the past. Originally from Japan, Hiro has been living in Ireland for over 20 years and though he visits family and friends regularly near Kyoto, he now considers Ireland as his “home”.

Brian-MarconiMr. Brian Marconi (JTI Ireland)

Brian is Communications and Community Investment Manager with Japan Tobacco International in Ireland, a role which includes managing the company’s internal and external communications and corporate philanthropy programme. He joined JTI in 2014 after holding a number of roles in communications and media in Ireland, before which he gained a BA from Griffith College Dublin and an MA from University College Dublin. In 2011, Brian fulfilled a long standing ambition to visit Japan during a stint working in South Korea. This interest continues today, leading him to the IJA via his current role with JTI.

Kate_Curneen_photoMs. Kate Curneen (Dillon Eustace)

Kate is a partner  in the Banking and Capital Markets Department of Dillon Eustace. She graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Law from UCD in 2006 and qualified as a solicitor in Ireland in 2010. Kate’s work is primarily focused on the sale of financial assets, property finance, securitisation and structured finance transactions.  She has also obtained a diploma in aviation leasing and finance from the Law Society of Ireland. Kate regularly contributes to legal and financial services related publications on topics including aviation finance, capital markets developments, securitisation, SME and consumer law and Brexit. Kate works with a number of Japanese clients. In December 2000, Dillon Eustace opened its first overseas office in Tokyo to service its Asian client base. Located in the centre of Tokyo’s Business District, the office also serves the members of the Irish business community seeking introductions in the city as well as providing an on-the-spot, immediate service to Japanese clients in their own time zone.

Ms. Hazel Smyth (AIB Corporate Banking)

Hazel is a member of the Foreign Direct Investment Team in AIB, Corporate Banking who manages the Bank’s relationship with new and existing FDI companies in Ireland. Hazel has been with AIB for over 6 years and has a wealth of experience having worked as a relationship manager for numerous multinationals with operations in Ireland including many from Japan. Hazel is a member of the Institute of Banking, holds a BSc. in Business & Management, a MSc. in Strategic Management and is currently studying for a Professional Diploma in Corporate Banking Credit.

Ms. Verity Swan

Verity Swan, whose teaching career began in England, was for many years a Deputy Principal of a large secondary school in Dublin. Throughout her teaching career Verity has undertaken classroom and school-based research focused Verity-SWANon optimum teaching and learning, completing her doctoral studies in Trinity College in 2010.
Since 2001 Verity has been a member of Rotary International serving as District Governor of Rotary Ireland in 2013/2014. In 2009 Verity, as a Rotarian, led a Group Study Exchange team to Japan. That five week visit has led both Verity and the team members to have a great interest in both Japanese business, culture and language. They are very pleased that they maintain contact with their Japanese friends in Shimane Prefecture. Verity has been a member of IJA since 2010.

Mr. Neil Maher (Mitsubishi Electric)

Neil’s association with Japan began in 2001 when he spent two years in Okayama prefecture as an Assistant Language Teacher on the JET Programme. Returning to Ireland in 2003 he was the JET Programme Coordinator in the Embassy of Japan managing the selection and departure of 68 Irish people on the JET Programme in 2004. As President of the Irish JET Alumni Association from 2005 to 2008 Neil oversaw a rebirth of the association which has continued to develop and act as a focal point for returning JETs to relive the highlights of their experiences of Japan. Neil first joined the IJA Council in 2008 and was vice-chairperson from 2009 – 2010.  Neil has a BSc in Management and Marketing and an MSc in Strategic Management. Neil is the Marketing Manager for Mitsubishi Electric Ireland which in 2017 is celebrating 35 years in Ireland.

Ms. Paula Kelly

A graduate of Carysfort College, U.C.D. and Trinity College, Paula is a qualified Primary School teacher. She is Deputy Principal in St. Anne’s N.S., Shankill. She has a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics. Paula’s connection with Japan began when she worked in Kusatsu City in Shiga Ken as a JET programme participant, working in three high schools. She also worked for a year at Tsukuba International School, as Principal Teacher. Upon returning to Ireland, she joined the Irish branch of JET Alumni Association and was Chairperson for a number of years. She represented Ireland at the international conferences and served as the first Chairperson of IJETAA. She joined the Ireland Japan Association and served as Chairperson for three years from 2004 – 2007. She has an avid interest in Japanese language and culture and has been a member of IJA’s study committee since 2015. She has recently rejoined the Council as an individual member.

Mr. Karl O’Reilly (KWE Ireland)
Coming soon.

Mr. Andrew Tyrrell (Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking)
Coming soon.


Tom-HardimanDr. Tom Hardiman (EU – Japan Business Round Table)

Dr. Hardiman holds directorships in industry, commerce and finance. A graduate of UCD in Engineering and Science, Tom worked for many years in the Telecommunications Services. He was appointment as Director General of RTE in 1968, a position he held for seven years. He is a Supervisory Board Member of the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation, Tokyo and a Member of the EU Japan Business Round Table. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Asia Europe Foundation, Singapore. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library and Gallery of Oriental Art, Dublin Castle. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in November 1980 and he was decorated with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by the Emperor of Japan in April 1986. He was conferred LL.D. by the National University of Ireland in April 1990 and D.Litt. by Lynn University, Florida in October 1995.

Mr. Sou Watanabe (Embassy of Japan in Ireland)
Coming soon.