RIP Liam Connellan

September 29, 2023

It is with sadness we note the passing of Liam Connellan, former Director General of Ibec's forerunner, the Confederation of Irish Industry. Liam played a pivotal role in the development of the CII having come from the IMI in 1972 to steady the organisation in the aftermath of the tragedy of the Staines air crash which deprived the community of twelve business leaders.

Liam’s early tenure coincided with Ireland’s entry into the now European Union and against the background of the Troubles on our island. His professionalism and amicable personality meant that he could establish relationships in Brussels and Belfast with equal measure. He helped form the Joint Business Council with the Confederation of British Industry for Northern Ireland business linkages which lay the seeds of the peace process two decades later. In Europe he steered the business community into modernity through expanding trade whilst coping with the difficult inflationary period of the 1970s and the recessions of the 1980s.

The breaking the link with Sterling in the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1979 and the subsequent EU Single Market launch in 1992, when Irish business thrived, under-pinned by the then nascent social partnership process, were to be the capstones on his CII tenure. The creation of Ibec in 1993 by the merger of CII and FIE was a significant achievement by both Liam and John Dunne, who both showed remarkable foresight and leadership.

When many would have contemplated the relaxations of a well-deserved retirement, Liam proved to be indefatigable. His passion for industry continued in his Presidential tenure in the RDS, the academy of engineers and in transportation in particular with the successful Dublin Luas light rail project.

His social justice empathy found expression in many charities, notably the Peter McVerry Trust and Kylemore Abbey. A proud native of Roscommon and alum of the University College Dublin, he lifetime contribution and passions were ones of a true patriot.

The term most used to describe Liam was "gentleman" - which is more than apt.

He made Ireland a better place in all that he did, he will be remembered for that -

“so long live this, and this gives life to thee”.

We extend our condolences to Liam Connellan's family and friends.

Danny McCoy, CEO, Ibec