Patrick Lynch was born in Galway in 1936, and was educated at St. Joseph’s College Galway and entered University College Galway in 1954 where he studied civil engineering, graduating in 1957. He obtained an international Road Federation Fellowship in 1969 and studied at North Western University in the USA where he obtained an MS degree in Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning. In 1974 he obtained a MIE in Industrial Engineering from University College Dublin.
He worked in a number of local authorities, being successively County Engineer of Limerick (1975-1977) and Galway (1977-1979), and also worked for J.B. Barry & Partners, consulting engineers and for the Department of the Environment. As County Engineer, he had responsibility for the planning, organisation and delivery of the full range of services provided by Local Authorities at that time, including Physical Planning, Roads and Transportation, Environmental Services and Housing. In 1979 he was appointed Programme Director with the National Board for Science and Technology, where he had responsibility for the policy, funding and operational delivery of the National Programme in Science, Technology and Engineering.
In 1982 he took up the position of Chief Executive of COLAS Roads and Building Services Ltd., a company in the Shell Group. Following a period of 5 years (1985-1990) in London with Shell International and Shell (UK), he returned to Ireland in 1990 as Managing Director of Irish Shell, with responsibility for all Shell interests in Ireland. He retired as Chairman and MD of Irish Shell in late 1996.