Liam Connellan grew up in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon and received his early education in Garbally College, Ballinasloe and at the Christian Brothers School, Roscommon. In 1957 he graduated from University College Dublin with a B.E. (Mech and Elec). He extended his studies through training in Sweden and with the British Thomson-Houston Works in Rugby. In 1960 he joined ACEC, Electrical Manufacturers in Waterford as Divisional Engineer, and he explains that at that time Irish industry operated with high tariff protection. In 1965 he joined the Irish Management Institute as one of its first management specialist staff. This included a period of travelling around Ireland conducting management training programmes which continued until 1972.
Following the death of twelve senior Irish business representatives including Ned Gray and Michael Sweetman in the Staines plane disaster of 18th June 1972, Liam was invited to become Director General of the Confederation of Irish Industry (CII) in which role he was also a member of the Executive Committee of UNICE – the Confederation of European Industry. He recalls those years during which tariff barriers were being removed and industry in Ireland was rapidly growing. He also remembers his close working relationship with his Northern Ireland counterpart, Col. James Sleator of the Confederation of British Industry. He relates the establishment of the Joint Council North South Business Council which is still in existence today.