Hardware Association Ireland (HAI) is the national representative body for hardware/DIY retailers and builders merchants, as well as manufacturers/distributors to the trade. We uniquely represent all levels of the supply chain and include within our membership ranks national and international companies, multi-branch chains and smaller independent hardware businesses.
In the 1930s in Ireland, there were a series of small trade groups, local and informal associations. There were also several Irish members of the National Federation of Ironmongery (UK) and the National Institute of Hardware (UK).
When J G McCaul, an ex-hardware merchant from the South East, introduced the Hardware and Allied Trader magazine in 1938, he also promoted the setting up of a national Hardware and Allied Traders Association. Various people collected memberships, and the national association which was founded in 1938, held its first AGM in 1939, in Athy.
1938The national Hardware and Allied Traders Association founded by Joseph Gerard McCaul, later renamed the Irish Hardware Association (IHA).
1938First copy of the Hardware and Allied Trader (HAT) published by Joseph Gerard McCaul - “Our aim is to seek by all responsible and legitimate means to safeguard and promote the best interests of the hardware and allied trades and to provide a common platform to bring them into a council of their own each month…our policy will be one of courtesy to all and when necessary to voice our views, to express them without fear or favour”
1939First AGM held in Athy, key discussion covering how price cutting was affecting trade and how to define a “Hardware Merchant” – “Availability of suitable premises, and stock to a value of £300”.
1945IHA's first official document - a letter from the Auditor and Secretary, Pearse Crowley, to the Registrar of Friendly Societies - is issued.
1952EDUCATION - Nine members of Graves of Waterford staff begin a three year course of the British National Institute of Hardware. This success prompts Bob Moffett of Cork Iron and Hardware to coach assistants after hours for the same exams in 1953.
1954EDUCATION - Leslie Whitehead (member of the Association's Council) negotiates with the School of Retail Distribution in Dublin to facilitate the course, using senior managers across the Irish sector to teach technical subjects in accordance with the syllabus. Hundreds of students receive their Certificates of Proficiency or Diplomas of Merit.
1954NETWORKING - Association President Frank Egan leads first delegation of buyers to the International Fair at Cologne, making contact with members of the International Federation of Hardware Merchants (FIDAQ)
1965NETWORKING - The Irish Hardware Association open the Irish Pavillion at the Hardware Trade Fair at the Olympia in London
1971NETWORKING - Hardware and Allied Traders Association's first trade fair takes place.
1973NETWORKING - First Brighter Homes Consumer exhibition takes place.
1984The Association's own premises is officially opened by General Secretary Jim Goulding in Elmville, Dundrum, Dublin.
1987IHA becomes a body limited by guarantee.
2000IHA becomes the Irish Hardware and Building Materials Association (IHBMA) to reflect the current membership.
2012IHBMA becomes Hardware Association Ireland (HAI).
2012Hardware and Allied Trader is replaced with new look The Hardware Journal.
2014HAI sell Elmville and move premises to Kilmacud, Co. Dublin.
2016HAI re-locates to Rathcoole, Co. Dublin, with facilities for training and meetings.
2017EDUCATION - HAI launches The Hardware Education Hub, its dedicated online training resource for members.
2017NETWORKING - HAI hosts the first two UK Study Tours in Milton Keynes, with Steve Collinge.