Concannon new Irish envoy to Canada

John Concannon, who was voted Marketer of the Year in 2010 for his work in rolling out Fáilte Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and the drive to develop staycations, has been appointed as the Irish ambassador to Canada. The Sligo-born marketer, who has held a series of Government-appointed roles, will be based in Ottawa. He will also represent Ireland’s diplomatic affairs in the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

Concannon was the driving force behind The Gathering in 2013, which mobilised the Irish diaspora to return to Ireland for ‘clan gatherings’. He was the director of the 1916 official commemorations programme and later Creative Ireland, the cultural and wellbeing project now run by former IAPI chief executive Tania Banotti. He was hired by Leo Varadkar to help run the strategic communications unit within the Department of an Taoiseach.

The unit was disbanded following controversy over advertising material used for the Project Ireland 2040 plan, announced by the Leo Varadkar-led government in 2018 during his first term as taoiseach. While a report by then secretary general of the Department of an Taoiseach Martin Fraser found that the unit did not politicise coverage of the plan, the unit was abandoned as it had become a “distraction from the work of Government”.


Following the disbandment of the unit, Concannon, who had assistant secretary status in the public service, became director general of Global Ireland in 2018, which had the brief of expanding Ireland’s global footprint, diplomatically and for enterprise. Global Ireland was a division of the Department of Foreign Affairs. In 2019, he took up a senior appointment with the University of Galway, where he was vice-president of development.

He then played a key role alongside ambassador to the United Nations, Geraldine Byrne-Nason, in Ireland’s election to the Security Council in 2020. In more recent years, Concannon has worked with the University of Galway and as a public servant with the Department of Foreign Affairs. In the early days of his marketing career he was with Dubarry shoes and Unilever, where he worked on the development of HB Magnum luxury ice cream.

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