Paul Loftus, native of Ballina in Mayo, has been named the Grand Marshal for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Montreal, Canada. 2012 marks the city’s 187th celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

Of the honor of being named Grand Marshal, Loftus said “It's not very often an Irish born person holds this position as there are so few of us here in comparison to the thousands of people whose great grand parents did survive the Great Hunger. I have dedicated my walk to those people who left Ireland like I did but never got to enjoy this great country.”

Loftus grew up in Mayo playing both football and rugby in his youth. He was a keen football player and played with St. Muredach’s College, the Fitzgerald’s and Ballina. He also played rugby with Ballina and with his commerce class in UCD.

Educated at such institutions as UCD, Concordia University in Montreal and Lamar University in Texas, Loftus holds a number of different certificates and diplomas in areas such as journalism and finance.

In March 1984, Loftus founded Paul Loftus & Associates Inc., a firm of International Management and Organizational Development Consultants which was later incorporated in 1991. Loftus serves as both owner and president.

Through his work as a licensed Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, an Intercultural Consultant and a Freelance Journalist, Loftus has garnered invaluable experience that he has embarked on sharing with the world. He’s travelled to several countries to deliver training seminars for executives.

Similarly, Loftus is a well-known speaker and has spoken at conferences around the world.

As a freelance journalist, Loftus has written numerous articles for international journals and business magazines, and is co-author of “Time Well Spent - Getting things done through effective time management”, published by Kogan Page in London. He is a regular contributor to the Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda.

Since arriving in Montreal, Canada, Loftus has become heavily involved with the Irish community, one that played a large role in the city’s early years of development. Loftus was instrumental in bringing the Ballina RFC on a tour to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

In Montreal, Loftus has held several important roles, some of which are: Chairman and Co-founder, Irish Canadian Olympic Support Committee; Captain, Montreal Shamrock’s Gaelic Football Team; President, Montreal Irish RFC, Co-Host Montreal Irish TV Show, Vice Chairman, Jeanie Johnson Project; Director, The Ireland Fund of Canada, Montreal; Director, St. Patrick’s Society; Representative, University College Dublin Alumni Association, Montreal. Paul is currently President of the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce, Montreal Chapter.

Loftus lives in Montreal with his wife Avy whom he met in Indonesia and daughter Mary Lynne, who is a champion Irish step dancer. The family regularly visits Loftus’s home in Ireland, and make sure to always be in Ballina for the annual Salmon Festival.

The Montreal St. Patrick’s Day parade will run on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 12 noon between Fort and St Catherine Streets.