Chartered Accountants Ireland has recognised one of its most distinguished members, Sir Desmond Lorimer, for his significant contribution to the profession and to public life in Northern Ireland.

Sir Desmond Lorimer was invited to address the Institute’s Council members on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of his Presidency of the Institute.  Sir Desmond is acknowledged as one of the most influential Chartered Accountants of his time, and a leading light in the business world.

As well as a successful career in practice, then in manufacturing, Sir Desmond played a key role in public life in Northern Ireland. He became the first ever Chairman of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, then the first ever Chairman of the Industrial Development Board, before then taking on the task of privatising the electricity industry in Northern Ireland.

Addressing the Institute Council Meeting in Belfast, Sir Desmond reflected upon the significant changes in the Institute and profession since his formative years as a Chartered Accountant.

Sir Desmond said that when he first became involved, there were only two District Societies (Dublin and Belfast) and the head office in Fitzwilliam Square had only six staff. It’s only functions were to run exams and exercise disciplinary functions. In the mid-1950s the Institute had around 1000 members, 300 in practice and 700 around the world in industry and commerce.

Sir Desmond became one of a small number of young members who began to develop stronger organisation of the Institute’s education and training, encouraging the creation of classes for students and the employment of lecturers.

Under Sir Desmond’s leadership, the Institute became more outward looking with a renewed focus on openness, transparency and engagement both with members and with other business and governmental organisations.

Sir Desmond was pleased to observe the recent evolution of the Institute, with great growth in member and student numbers. He was particularly pleased to note the strong growth of female members and that the profession was much more diverse than his day.

Sir Desmond commented that changes in the profession would continue, particularly with regard to evolution in technology and changes in corporate governance and regulation. He concluded his address by wishing the Institute every success and encouraging Council to continue to push for progress in the profession.

Feargal McCormack, President of Chartered Accountants Ireland said: “Sir Desmond is one of the pillars of the community whose contribution to the Northern Ireland economy has been immense.  As a young Chartered Accountant, he was certainly one of people who I very much looked up to. He is a great ambassador for our Institute and a fantastic example of the lasting impact that our members can make in their career”.

Following Sir Desmond’s address, Feargal McCormack and Institute Chief Executive Barry Dempsey marked Sir Desmond’s substantial contribution to the profession and public life with the presentation of Galway Crystal in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall/ ICC.


Note to editors:  Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s biggest and fastest growing professional accountancy body, with 26,500 members across the globe. It is the voice of the accountancy profession on the island of Ireland.

Reference: Garry Webb, Chartered Accountants Ireland, 07841 152045