The origins of the Irish Ship Agents Association (ISAA) go back to the mid 1970's when the economy and the Port business in IRELAND was starting to eemerge and develop in tandem with IRELAND taking her place within the European Community . For years The “leading lights” of the shipping profession and port service sector in Dublin, Cork & Limerick met on an ad hoc basis, often over a liquid lunch, to discuss matters of mutual interest within the industry. In the early 1970's theses meetings became more formal. By 1996 the national representative body (ISSA) was formed. Notable personalities such as Charlie Pobjoy, Gerry Ryan, Michael Ennis, Cdr McGoldrick, Frank Taft, Des Jennings and Lorcan O Toole were founding members and represented a strong geographical spread within the Irish ports. All these individuals subsequently served as Presidents during the years 1976 to 1992 .
ISAA became a founding member of the wider International body, The Federation of National Associations (FONASBA), and this allowed the Association to network and meet with our International partners through varied fora not least of which was the annual FONASBA meeting. This membership gave access to European and worldwide shipping connections and also helped the Irish membership to adopt best international practices. In this period the ISAA also became members ECASBA & BRISCOM.
From 1984-86 Mr Des Jennings served as president of ISSA and from as president of FONASBA and during this period the annual FONASBA meeting was hosted very successfully by Ireland in Killiney Castle Dublin. By this time the ISAA had opened an office in Cobh, very ably managed by Ltr Cdr Liam Smith who served as secretary general of the association. Liam was a wonderful character and brought a sense of occasion and importance to everything he touched.
During these years the profile of the Association benefited greatly from both his stewardship and the very active membership of the Council. At this stage ISAA had over sixty Company members which reflected the buoyant Irish economy. In the 2nd half of the 1990's the ISAA under the Presidency of Roy Conway, the Association received national prominence as the National body for the industry with official recognition by the then Minister for Marine, Dr Michael Woods.
During the early years of the current century both Roy Conway and President John Dundon represented the association on the consultative body of the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) which was the arm of the Department of Marine which lead the way in the development of the marine policy in IRELAND.
By 2007 sadly Liam Smith had passed away, having taken his last voyage to Fiddlers Green, (fiddlers green is a place were seamen go if they dont go to hell).
In 2008 the international economic crises was severely felt in Ireland and this resulted in merger, acquisition and rationalization of the industry. It was only by the dedication and commitment of the council of the ISSA that the association survived those dark years. With the continued growth of the Irish economy the future now looks promising and interesting for the current membership.