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-Nakagawa
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).


Mr. Hiro Ino (Stewart & Ino 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, Stewart & Ino 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”.

Deirdre-CeanntMs. Deirdre Ceannt (Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking)

Deirdre Ceannt is a member of the Inward Investment Team at Bank of Ireland – Corporate Banking. The Inward Investment Team manage the Bank’s relationship with new FDI clients setting up a base in Ireland and provide service and support across a range of financial products throughout the lifetime of the relationship. Deirdre joined Bank of Ireland from Irish Bank Resolution Corporation where she managed the Bank’s treasury and capital markets relationship with Asian and Middle Eastern banks and investors for over 8 years. Originally from Ireland she spent many years living in Singapore where she developed a keen interest in the region. She went on to study a BA in History (Japanese History) and Economics in UCD,  MA in Modern East Asian Studies from the University of Durham and holds a QFA designation.

Kie-CONLONMs. Kie Conlon (Deloitte)

Kie Conlon is a Management Consultant with over 10 years’ experience in providing consulting services to clients across a range of industries primarily on project/change management and operations design/improvement.  Since 2008, Kie has been working with Deloitte & Touche in Ireland where she is a Manager in the Strategy & Operations services line.  Prior to moving to the Irish practice, Kie worked with Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting in Tokyo, where her key client was a major Japanese automotive manufacturer.  She holds a postgraduate degree from the London School of Economics and undergraduate from Rikkyo University in Tokyo.  She is also a Project Management Professional® (Project Management Institute) and Certified Management Consultant (Institute of Management Consultants and Advisers).

Headshot-William-COUGHLANMr. William Coughlan (Sumitomo Mitsui Finance Dublin)

William Coughlan, a Dublin native and fluent Japanese speaker, is a relationship manager for Japanese corporates at Sumitomo Mitsui Finance Dublin, an Irish subsidiary of the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group. He first visited Japan as an exchange student in 2007 while studying Japanese at Leaving Certificate level. He went on to graduate from Dublin City University in 2014 with an honours degree in Applied Linguistics & Translation Studies, specialising in pure Japanese. He spent a year studying at Sophia University in Tokyo during his time at Dublin City University and has travelled extensively in Japan and Asia. He has been an IJA Council member since 2015.

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 senior associate in the Banking and Capital Markets Department of Dillon Eustace. She graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Law degree 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, 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 articles to financial services related publications in a number of areas, including aviation finance, capital markets developments, securitisation and SME and consumer law. She is also a member of the Irish Debt Securities Association. 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.

Mr. Martin Crotty
Martin Crotty is Managing Director of BFK Brand Ltd and is a director of the Irish Dresden companies in Ireland and in Japan.

In BFK Martin specialises in brand strategy, evaluation, development and brand management consultancy. He advises a diverse range of clients across many industries, particularly in state, corporate and retail sectors, and in higher education. Martin also manages brand research, surveys and forecasting and lectures on branding and related matters.

In addition Martin is a Director of Müller Volkstedt Ireland Ltd, the Dromcolliher, Co Limerick, manufacturer of the famous Irish Dresden porcelain figurines. He is also a Director of Irish Dresden Japan, the Tokyo-based marketing and distribution company for Irish Dresden in the Japanese market.

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.

Karl O Reilly (Kintetsu)

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.

Yuichi-YAMADAMr. Yuichi Yamada (Embassy of Japan in Ireland)

Having worked in Japan, the Netherlands and Iraq, Yuichi Yamada has worked as the Press and Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of Japan in Ireland since September 2012. His main areas of responsibility within the Embassy are the promotion of Japanese culture, language education, and press issues. The Ireland Japan Association and the Embassy of Japan in Ireland work together on many initiatives, including Japanese cultural events such as Experience Japan and the Japanese Film Festival.