Justin Green and Barney Whelan conferred with PRII Life Fellowship

Life Fellowship is the highest honour that the Public Relations Institute of Ireland can bestow on a member. Life Fellows, of which there are currently 27, have championed by example the highest standards and implementation of the profession of public relations.

Justin Green and Barney Whelan were presented with their Life Fellowships by PRII President Cian Connaughton MPRII, last Thursday. When they were joined by PRII Fellows, past and present PRII National Council members, members of the media; the arts and entertainment world as well as family and friends.

Justin Green is the Founder and Managing Director of Wide Awake Communications. Speaking at the ceremony in the Irish Architecture Archive last Thursday, Tony O’Brien, MPRII said Justin has devoted:

“a huge amount of his time and energy to the Public Relations Institute of Ireland and to advancing the profession of public relations in this country and, indeed, internationally.

He is, in fact, the longest serving member of National Council, spending over 15 years on Council. Over the years he has served with great distinction in many roles, from Treasurer all the way to President and, indeed, he currently holds the position of Vice-President.”

And in his professional capacity, Justin has been responsible for many award-winning campaigns for international artists and events, including U2, Beyonce, the Rolling Stones, Coldplay and Madonna. He has also played a key role in events such as the visits to Ireland of US Presidents Obama and Clinton as well as the Special Olympics World Games in Dublin.  

Earlier this year Justin published a landmark report – “Let’s Celebrate” – which examined the Cultural and Economic Contribution of Live Entertainment Events in Ireland.  

In recognition of his work and particular interest in improving and advancing the PR industry in Kenya and across Africa Justin was appointed Global Ambassador to the African Public Relations Association and the Public Relations Society of Kenya.

Earlier this year he also became the first Irish person to be elected to the board of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management (GA), the confederation of the world's major public relations and communication management associations and institutions representing 160,000 practitioners and academics around the world.

Barney Whelan is the former Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at An Post and during a distinguished career in PR he spent time at the helm of communications for ESB and safefood. He came to PR through the field of science and his approach to his work has been scientific, analytical and ground breaking from well before those became industry pitch lines.

A graduate of UCD Barney became Public Relations Manager for ESB in 1993. In that role he progressed the management of the ESB’s public affairs, communications and sponsorship programmes making them one of the most considered in the market and integrating the many different strands of communication when the integrated approach was in its infancy.  He initiated a number of hugely successful sponsorship programmes and he was a pioneer in the Irish market in the use of tracking research for brand and reputation.

In 2002 he joined the Food Safety Promotions Board and set about establishing its presence as an all island body with a distinct mandate in a crowded space, something that it quickly began to do with the development of the ‘SafeFood’ brand.

In 2005 Barney joined An Post where he worked on the gradual repositioning of the organisation and its business as it deals with the economic and social implications of communications technology. He was a driver of An Post’s investment in cycle racing which brought major international class and elite local sports activity in to almost every county in Ireland. From 2011 Barney was directly responsible for the GPO’s Witness History project, a major exhibition and visitor facility, which he proposed as An Post’s contribution to the 1916- 2016 celebrations.

In addition to his leadership in the sector, Barney has played an active role as a public figure beyond the day job. He has been a strong supporter of and contributor to the governance of the arts in Ireland holding positions as a director with a wide number of organisations including the National Concert Hall and the National Gallery of Ireland.

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