About PRII

The Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) is dedicated to promoting the professional practice of public relations and communications in Ireland. Celebrating 70 years in existence, the Institute aims to provide: 

  • Wider recognition of the role of public relations in organisations 

  • Higher standards of professionalism 

  • Better qualifications for practitioners; and  

  • To be an effective forum for members to share interests and experiences. 


All members will have the competencies and capabilities to practice the profession of public relations and communications effectively and to the highest standard. This practice will be underpinned by professional education and training, codes of practice, experience, and expertise. The profession will be widely recognised as critical to the effective functioning of society. 


The Institute’s mission is to support and enable the professional and career development of members and advocate for the profession of public relations and communications. 

The depth and scope of our members' backgrounds and working briefs reflect a considerable broadening of the role and responsibilities of PR professionals from the traditional media relations base, and highlight its cross-functionality with a variety of disciplines   

PRII is a member of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management, the confederation of the world's major PR and communication management associations and institutions, representing about 160,000 practitioners and academics around the world. 

History of PR in Ireland and Founding of the Institute 

The first recorded appointment of a practitioner of public relations in Ireland, and arguably in Europe, was in 1928. Minutes of a Board meeting of the Irish State-owned Electricity Supply Board record the appointment of Edward (Ned) Lawler as Press Officer.

Published in 1993, ‘The Communicators – The History of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland’ by Michael Colley records some of the great moments in modern Ireland’s history and the role played by public relations. One of those great events was the Shannon Electricity Scheme in the 1920s, the biggest engineering project ever carried out in Ireland, and the media relations, public relations and public affairs for that major infrastructural project was led by Ned Lawler.

It’s impossible to over-estimate the economic, social, cultural and political importance and value of that project to Ireland, then and now. And in the history of Irish public relations it is regarded as the first example of an international, strategic, public information, public affairs and public relations project.

In 1953, the same Ned Lawler, with Lesley Luke, one of the first public relations consultants in Ireland, wrote to those they knew to be working in public relations:

From time to time some of us engaged in public relations in Ireland have discussed the desirability of forming a society, association or club which would enable us to exchange information, advance the interests of PR generally and enjoy one another's company more frequently.

Arising from that letter, a meeting was held in October 1953 at Jury's Hotel on Dame Street in Dublin. The meeting was attended by the public relations managers of a number of public sector bodies such as the national airline, Aer Lingus, and some from the private sector.

This meeting agreed to the formation of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII), just five years after the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) was founded. Since the 1950s, the Institute has evolved with Irish, European and international society and with the ever-changing practices of public.

Two years after the formation of the PRII, in 1956, the first full -time Press Officer was appointed to an Irish Government Department, the Department of Agriculture. Other Government Departments followed this example.

Most of the early entrants had previously worked in journalism  and the PRII moved quickly to provide support for those entering and working in this relatively new profession.

The first PRII training course in public relations took place in 1954 and education and training remains at the forefront of what the Institute does to this day.

While the majority of those involved in the profession in the early years were men, it was a woman who was central in educating and training generations of professionals. That woman was Gladys Mc Nevin, a mentor and support to those first students of public relations in Ireland. The PRII honour her memory by awarding the Gladys McNevin trophy each year to the best student on the PRII Diploma in Public Relations.

It is thought the first public relations agency was set up in 1973 and it is still very much in business.

Having been run by volunteers, the Institute professionalised its operations in 2001 with an office and staff.

As the profession grew in number and scope of work, the PRII began to provide advice and assistance to colleges and universities wishing to provide credentials in public relations and communications. The first college course in public relations was established in 1978. Today, the Institute accredits courses in communications and public relations across the country. Since 1986 the Institute has run its own part-time Diploma. Since it began, over 3,000 students have graduated with the PRII Diploma in PR. .

Over the decades, public relations has constructively contributed to the economic, cultural, political, environmental and social life of Irish people.

See more here: https://www.prmuseum.org/public-relations-worldwide/#ireland