Judging Panel 2020


Judging Panel 2020

Discover our panel of experts for the 2020 Export Industry Awards. More judges to be announced shortly.

Bobby McDonagh, Chair

Bobby retired from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in June 2018 where he was Deputy Secretary General and Director General of the Policy and Communications Division.

Bobby was Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the EU from 2005 to 2009, Ambassador to the UK from 2009 to 2013 and Ambassador to Italy from 2013 to 2017.  His earlier positions included EU Director General at the Department in Dublin and Ambassador to Malaysia. He worked in the cabinets two Irish EU Commissioners in Brussels and as an official of the European Parliament.

He has written extensively about EU matters including Original Sin in a Brave New World – the Paradox of Europe (1998), a book explaining the nature and practice of EU negotiations;  The Intergovernmental Conference: How the deal was done, an account of the negotiation of the EU Constitutional Treaty (2007); and Inside the Mind of a Permanent Representative in Brussels (2015).

Since his retirement from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2018, Bobby has been a newspaper columnist and public commentator, notably on European Union issues. He is completing a Diploma in Executive Coaching at the Smurfit Business School in Dublin.

Liam Lynch, Partner, KPMG Independent Judge

Liam has been a partner in KPMG since 2004 and has over 20 year’s tax experience. He currently leads Private Clients services and is Head of Insurance Tax.  In addition, he advises large Irish corporates expanding internationally.

He has spoken and written widely on tax matters generally in Irish and international publications. He has presented to Irish politicians, MEPs in Brussels, the EU Commission including meeting with the relevant EU commissioner and the US Government

Breege O'Donoghue, Chair, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland

Breege has until recently been a Board Member & Group Director (Business Development & New Markets) at Primark, and after 37 years now continues in an ambassadorial role, is a trustee of Primark Better Lives Foundation, and a trustee of the Primark Pension Plan.

 A graduate of UCD, a Chartered Director, Breege is currently Chair of the Business and Human Rights Implementation Group, Chair of Real World Analytics, Chair of The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, Non-Executive Director of Fáilte Ireland, Non-Executive Director of Shaw & Sons Ltd, a board member of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, and a member of the Outside Appointments Board (Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour).

Breege has held government appointed positions on the board of a number of state companies including An Post, Aer Rianta, Chair of Shannon College of Hotel Management, Chair of the Labour Relations Commission, and has been a Trustee and a Council Member of IBEC.

David Brophy, Partner & Patent Attorney, FR Kelly

David divides his practice between patents and designs. He heads up the design practice of FRKelly, and in his patent work he specialises in telecommunications and software-related inventions, medical devices and physics-related inventions.

He joined the profession in 1993 and moved to FRKelly in 1998, joining the Partnership in 2002. David is Secretary of the Online Communications Committee of EPI, a member of the Executive Committee of FICPI, and a former Honorary Secretary and current member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys.

Padraic White, Chairman, Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services

Padraic is Chairman of the Collins Mc Nicholas Recruitment and HR Services company and of a range of other SME companies. He also chairs the Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund managed by Kernel Capital.

Padraic is former Managing Director of the Industrial Development Authority of Ireland.

Kieran Comerford, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office

Kieran has worked in the Enterprise Development sector since 2002 and in this time he has acted as an advisor & mentor to hundreds of start-up and developing companies and has rolled out a variety of unique business support and enterprise promotion events and projects.

Now he is Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Carlow.

Dr. Aisling McEvoy, Ph.D. l Head of Enterprise Partnerships, Programmes Directorate, Science Foundation Ireland

Dr. Aisling McEvoy is Head of Enterprise Partnerships at Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). SFI’s industry partnership programmes provide an opportunity for industry to collaborate directly with scientists and engineers within Irish research bodies at a number of levels ranging from seeding an initial engagement with an academic group, to large-scale collaborative endeavours. Within SFI, Aisling has managed programmes for senior investigators and early/mid-career researchers, as well as partnership programmes with international funding agencies. She has also had responsibility for research impact and peer review within the Foundation.

Aisling graduated from University College Dublin with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Experimental Physics, and received her Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Dublin City University, after which she held positions both in the private sector and in third level research before joining SFI.

Howrd Knott, Logisitics Consultant

Howard’s experience goes back to the mid-1970’s and has involved running companies in the freight forwarding, trailer and shipping businesses.

For the last ten years Howard has worked with the IEA within the logistics area, including trade facilitation, the IEA Rail Freight Group now IEA Multimodal Working Group and the Supply Chain activity. He is also a columnist and writer of the Maritime section at “Fleet Transport”.

Mick Curran, CEO, Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport Ireland (CILT)

Mick Curran is the Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institute of logistics and Transport (CILT).  CILT is the global professional body working for those in logistics, transport and supply chain.

Prior to joining CILT, Mick spent 24 years in the Defense Forces, serving in various appointments both at home and overseas.

Brian Conroy – Head of Engineering and Industrial Technologies Division, IDA Ireland

Brian leads the Engineering and Industrial Technologies Division in IDA Ireland, the Irish Government Agency charged with attracting Foreign Direct Investment into Ireland. Brian has over 25 years of experience in the public and private sectors and has worked with many of the world’s leading companies as they develop their businesses globally.

Prior to his current role Brian was based in Shanghai for 5 years as Director Asia-Pacific for IDA with a remit to win investment from this diverse and growing market. Brian is a business graduate from University College Dublin with an MBA from the Open University. Before joining IDA, Brian worked in the private sector with a leading logistics company in Ireland, Malaysia and the UK.

Eamon Martyn, Financial Controller, Hydro International Ltd.

Eamon a native of county Galway has worked all his life in Industry and recently has taken up a position as Financial Controller at Hydro International Ltd. Navan.

The Companies principle activity is the manufacture of wastewater treatment equipment and systems. The Company is a leader of technology innovation, and specialise in the treatment and recycling of industrial effluents, offering improved performance and environmentally sustainable solutions.

Before this Eamon was Director and CFO at Wellman International Ltd.  Wellman originated from a predominantly polyester fibre provider, and has evolved to become a European leader across multiple polymer and fibre types including PA66, PET, PP and PLA.

During his long career at the company Eamon worked predominately in Finance but also at different times had responsibility for IT and Logistics.

Jillian Mahon, Consultant

Jillian has had an extensive executive career in financial services operating both in the private and public sector.  As a former Treasurer with AIB, she has broad experience in Capital Markets, International Banking with specific expertise in all areas of Treasury risk management complemented with Irish representation and consultancy on projects for the European Banking Federation and the ECB. From 2013 to 2018, Jillian worked in senior roles for the National Treasury Management Agency. As a result, she has unique experience in the implementation of public policy in credit financing for small business having worked in the Irish Strategic Investment Fund and as founder member in the establishment of only Irish National Promotional Financial Institution, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

She currently works as a consultant to the public and private sector on the development of financial instruments and alternative financing streams to enhance access to finance particularly for SMEs. Jillian holds a BA in Economics and English, an MBA and a Prof Dip in Corporate Governance.

Margaret Hearty – Director of Programmes and Business Services & Assistant Designated Officer

Margaret heads up InterTradeIreland’s suite of Business Supports and is part of the organisations Senior Management Team.   She is currently Assistant Designated Officer.

Margaret has worked with the organisation since its inception in a number of key roles.

Margaret has over 20 year’s experience working with entrepreneurs, small & medium sized enterprises and start-up businesses.   She has extensive experience designing innovative solutions and supports for business. Margaret is passionate about helping and supporting businesses to grow and develop through InterTradeIreland’s supports.

Margaret is a business and marketing graduate and has an MBA. She was appointed to her current position in December 2009.

Ciara McDonagh, Food Industry Development Programme, Teagasc

Ciara McDonagh leads the Food Industry Development Programme in Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority with special responsibility for science based knowledge transfer to the food sector.

Following on from an early career in food research,  she has over fifteen years of experience in the delivery of consultancy and technical services to Irish food companies.

Leading a team of accomplished scientists and technologists, Ciara works with companies of all sizes across the Irish Food Sector, supporting product and process innovation and promoting the uptake of food research and technologies for commercial application.