Outlook: Dr Martina Byrne

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Dr Martina Byrne, chief executive officer of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) and the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) in Ireland, shared her outlook on the PR and communications industry.

Reflecting on the past year, Dr Byrne said, “Covid-19 has impacted the public relations and communication profession in different ways in different areas of the globe. Recent surveys indicate a strong level of optimism in PR in the United States, less so in the UK, though it’s difficult to distinguish how much of the UK experience is due to a ‘Brexit effect’ in addition to Covid. In Ireland, if anything, professional, thoughtful public relations is being seen in an increasingly positive light by clients and employers. 

Internal communication has the attention of senior management in a way it struggled to achieve in the past. Public affairs, corporate PR, and those with crisis and issues communication experience have been busier than ever. I talk to a lot of team leaders in the course of my work and I would say they are cautiously optimistic for the year ahead. Even in lockdown, public relations practitioners are lucky in that they don’t need major infrastructure to get the work done: if they have a laptop, they can work. The most impacted sector, events management, has upskilled and moved to develop creative new ways of hosting much needed cultural, community and corporate events. 

At the PRII we have seen surprisingly high levels of recruitment since early Autumn across all sectors: public, private and not-for-profit. We’re also seeing more engagement with our member events and online resources and members appreciate that we’re here for them, we’re not cancelling anything, and that we create opportunities for them to come together.”