History of the IEA



On the 1st May 1951, a small group of exporters gathered together to form an association to look after the welfare of exporters and grow business in Ireland, helping it get back on its feet after WWII. The first President of the IEA was Mr Patrick Joseph Loughrey who was a director of Bachelors and Co. (Ireland) Ltd. and Irish Canners Ltd. A note in the minutes for the year 1951 records that following a general election in Ireland, Taoiseach Eamon de Valera sent a letter of support to the fledging Irish Exporters Association. Within weeks of the IEA being established it started to suggest that the Government should consider introducing some sort of ‘incentive bonus’ in the form of tax relief to export manufacturers.  

Since its establishment, the IEA has driven and supported the growth and development of all exporting businesses in Ireland, leading the export agenda as the voice of Irish exporters, promoting their interests and driving them forward. Ireland is a small open economy that has seen exporting businesses drive us out of troubled waters and exporting has become a way of life for Ireland. If a business wants to grow, it needs to get off the Island.

Since the beginning of the IEA in 1951, the single most dramatic change in the Irish economic landscape has been the expansion and diversification of the types of goods and services being exported.  In the early 1950’s, Irish exports were heavily dependent on agriculture, cattle in particular, and export was less about growing market share and more about disposing of surplus product. We were also heavily dependent on the UK as our main trading partner, in 1949 91% of our exports went to the UK. In the early 1950’s exports were around 30% of GDP, in 2014 this figure was nearly 114%. Throughout the years, we have seen many changes in Ireland’s economic fortunes, in response to changing circumstances of both domestic and international conditions. One of the major factors that kick-started Irish trade was the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement in the 60’s. The 70’s saw Ireland move towards industrialisation and exporting manufactured products as opposed to the over reliance on agricultural produce but also brought with it a recession, growing unemployment and high emigration. An economy will grow faster when the demand for goods and services is not limited to its own domestic market so joining the EU in 1973 and the free flow of trade across EU borders resulting from the start of the ‘Single Market’ opened up Irish business to a whole new world of potential customers. The international recession of the 80’s stunted the growth of Irish exports and resulted in record levels of unemployment and years of budgetary crisis followed by massive emigration. The 90’s brought with it the boom of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ with huge amounts of investment. Following this we again faced a global financial crisis which hit in September 2008. Industrial development and economic growth is export led and our remarkable recovery from 2008 to now is something that we can be incredibly proud of. Ireland is set to maintain its title of the fastest growing economy for three consecutive years and the primary driver of this economic turnaround has been our booming export market.

The IEA has helped to navigate stormy waters for Irish exporters since 1951 and we are far from complete in our task. Irish exporters are still facing many challenges that could hinder their development.


Presidential Roll

P.J. Loughrey1951 – 53Bachelors and Co. (Ireland) Ltd. and Irish Canners Ltd
G. Lane1953 – 55 Gypsum Industries Ltd.
J. Cooper 1955 – 57 Smith & Pearson Ltd.
A. Moran 1957 – 58Gateaux Ltd.
B. Roche1958 – 59Irish Ropes Ltd.
H. Davis1959 – 60Automac Co. Ltd
W.D. Fraser1960 – 61North Dublin Growers Association
J.M Lyden1961 – 63Dakota Ltd.
G.L.M Wheeler 1963 – 65Stroud Riley (Ireland)Ltd.
M. Willis Murphy1965 – 67
C.A Denvir 1967 – 69Irish Ropes and Donegal Weavers
D. Hurley1969 – 70Bush and Electric Co. Ltd.
D.B. Love1970 – 72Irish Exporter
P. Brennan 1972 – 73Celmac Ireland Ltd.
J.C.McGough1973 – 74Bord Bainne Ltd.
C.P. Kinsella1974 – 76Irish Shipping Ltd.
K.F. Hammond1976 – 77Irish Ropes Ltd.
S.A. Kennedy1977 – 79Wavin Pipes Ltd.
C.J. Pim1979 – 80Chivers & Sons Ltd.
P.J. Murphy1980 – 82Minch Malt Ltd.
P. McKimm1982 – 84Bord Bainne
R. Sweetnam1984 – 86Guinness Ireland Ltd.
A. Crawford1986 – 87Bestfoods UK Ltd.
M. Scanlan1987 – 89Bank of Ireland International Division
R. Bury1989 – 90Antigen Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
D.J. Shelly1991 – 93Calor Gas Ltd.
L. Crowley1993 – 95Governor, Bank of Ireland
M. Murphy1997 – 98Guinness Ireland Ltd.
P.J. Murphy1998 – 99Minch Malt Ltd.
B. Farrell1999 – 01 Abbott
B. Ranalow2001 – 03H & K Europe
M. Counahan2003 – 05CHL Consulting Group
D. Moore2005 – 06ESB International
J. Lynch2006 – 08First Ireland Spirits Co. Ltd
L. Shanahan 2008 – 10Shanahan Engineering
M. Fitzgerald2010 – 12Citi Bank Ireland
C. Lawlor2013 – 14ResMed
H. Kelly2014 – 15Associated Marketing Ltd.
P. McCarthy2015 – 2017GE Healthcare Ireland
N. Byrne2017 – 2018Cloud90
M. Armstrong2019 – 2020KPMG Ireland
D. Carthy 2020 – 2021 DLA Piper