Full-service PR firm
Walsh Public Relations, with eight full-time staff (seven of them client-facing) and revenues of about €1 million, has no interest in being the largest public relations firm in Ireland. Instead, it has chosen to focus on providing highly professional service to a select and unusually stable list of retainer clients—half of which have been with the firm for 10 years or more. It’s no surprise that Walsh was one of the first consultancies to qualify for the Consultancy Management Standard from Public Relations Consultants Association Ireland or that its leaders are active in the broader Irish PR community.
Founded in 1984, the firm offers corporate and marketing consultancy, media relations, and crisis management, with clients in the consumer and business-to-business sectors, as well as financial communications and public affairs support. Founder Jim Walsh has more than 30 years experience in the PR business and is a past president of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland. His two fellow directors are Caroline Heywood, a 15-year veteran of the firm who works primarily in the FMCG and healthcare sectors; and Ella Shanahan, a relative newcomer who joined in 2004 after a career in journalism, including a stint editing the education and living section at the Irish Times.
The past 12 months have seen healthy growth, with revenues up about 7 percent and new business coming from across the board, with the business-to-business sector particularly productive. Interesting assignments included a national primary school essay competition on disability for a government department (as a matter of policy, Walsh does not identify its clients); encouraging Irish participation in a new clinical trial for cancer patients; organizing the national launch of a new board game, including a photo call with the Irish Prime Minister; and developing a crisis communications plan for the closure of a client’s manufacturing plant.
Walsh works internationally through its links with IPREX and Harrison Cowley. It is the Irish partner in IPREX, an international network with partners around the world, and is also an associate of the Harrison Cowley network, with 10 offices in the U.K. and Ireland.