H.E. Mr. Mitsuru Kitano, Japanese Ambassador to Ireland

H.E. Mr. Mitsuru Kitano, Japanese Ambassador to Ireland

Patron Member

The Ireland Japan Association would like to acknowledge the gracious support of our Patron, Japanese Ambassador to Ireland H.E. Mr. Mitsuru Kitano.

Raymond Hegarty

Raymond Hegarty

IJA Chairperson

Raymond 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).

Yasuyuki Ozeki, JETRO

Yasuyuki Ozeki, JETRO

IJA Vice-Chairperson

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.

Catherine Grennell-Whyte, Finnair/ATTS

Catherine Grennell-Whyte, Finnair/ATTS

IJA Council Member

Coming soon!

Darina Slattery, Unique Japan Tours

Darina Slattery, Unique Japan Tours

IJA Council Member

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.

Eddie Hughes

Eddie Hughes

IJA Council Member

Eddie Hughes is a former Director of Japan for the Irish Government’s Trade Development Agency Enterprise Ireland based in Tokyo. Prior to his career in Enterprise Ireland he worked for Ireland’s Foreign Direct Investment Agency IDA Ireland in a number of diverse roles and in particular specializing in the Food Processing Sector. He also was a member on a number of Research Boards including Moorepark Technology Limited at Teagasc Dairy Research Centre in County Cork. At the beginning of his career, he worked in the Irish Beef Processing Industry in financial management roles. Currently he is providing consultancy services to the Irish Food Processing Sector.

Hiroaki Ozaki

Hiroaki Ozaki

IJA Council Member

Hiro Ozaki was known as Mr. Marubeni among Irish industries as he was the general manager of Marubeni Ireland for many years. After retiring from Marubeni, he became a consultant for them, a role he still holds today. He was on the committee of both the Ireland Japan Society and Ireland Japan Economic Association in the 1980s. He served as president of the Japanese Saturday School in Dublin and was elected as the president of the Japan Business Society in Ireland on three occasions. He was awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendations for his contribution towards the promotion of friendship between Japan and Ireland by Fumio Kishida, the then minister of foreign affairs of Japan, when he visited Ireland in 2017.

Laura Goonan

Laura Goonan

Laura is an Associate in the Asset Management and Investment Funds Group of Dillon Eustace and is a graduate of UCD, TCD and the Law Society of Ireland. Laura is qualified as a solicitor in Ireland and acts for a number of Japanese financial institutions with respect to financial services regulation in Ireland. In December 2000, Dillon Eustace opened its first overseas office in Tokyo to support its Japanese client base. Since its establishment, Dillon Eustace has consistently been the law firm of choice for the majority of Japanese financial institutions seeking to use Ireland as a gateway to Europe. Dillon Eustace has also advised Japanese companies on property, construction, aviation, employment and corporate issues in Ireland.

Pamela Connell, BOI Corporate Banking

Pamela Connell, BOI Corporate Banking

IJA Council Member

Pamela is an Assistant Vice President of the Foreign Direct Investment team within Bank of Ireland. Pamela is a graduate of the University of Limerick with a Bachelor of Business Studies. Bank of Ireland’s Foreign Direct Investment team specialise in supporting international companies in setting up their European operation in Ireland. Bank of Ireland has been the bank of choice for FDI customers working with 2 out of every 3 international companies coming to Ireland including a number of Japanese customers. Pamela has always had a keen interest in Japan and Japanese culture, and was able to travel to Japan in 2019 where she visited Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya.

Paula Kelly

Paula Kelly

IJA Council Member

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.

Verity Swan

Verity Swan

IJA Council Member

Verity Swan who is a teacher by profession was Deputy Principal of a large girls’ secondary school in Dublin. Subsequently she undertook educational research in Trinity College Dublin receiving her doctorate in 2010 in the area of leadership and learning. As a member of Rotary International, she was the first female to be District Governor of Rotary Ireland (2013/2014) actively promoting Rotary International’s work in peace initiatives, humanitarian projects and educational opportunities. In 2009 Verity was asked to lead a Rotary Group Study Exchange Team to Matsue, Japan. The experience of Japanese life and culture which the five-member team (Verity and the four non-Rotarians who were in the first years of their careers) enjoyed, has led in each case to a life-long interest in Japan. On return to Ireland, Verity became a member of the Ireland Japan Association, and having served for three years on the IJA Council (2015 - 2018) is pleased to have been elected for a second term. Having re-visited Japan in 2016, she hopes to make a third visit in 2020.

Sou Watanabe, Embassy of Japan in Ireland

Sou Watanabe, Embassy of Japan in Ireland

Attendee of the IJA Council Meetings

Coming soon!