McCreevy to join Ryanair

FORMER finance minister and European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has been cleared by the EU to join the board of Ryanair.

The 61-year-old accountant joins Europe’s biggest low-cost airline as a paid non-executive director, a post for which other directors last year received up to €47,000.

Mr McCreevy, known for his outspoken and direct manner, retired from the Commission in February with a transition allowance of 55% of his salary, approximately €20,280 a month, which he is entitled to for three years.

This is in addition to his ministerial and TD pensions of €126,960 a year. He will be entitled to a pension also from his commission post when he reaches the age of 65.

The former commissioners must apply for permission to take up other positions within a year of leaving Brussels to ensure there is no conflict of interest.

The commission is investigating seven cases of state- aid involving Ryanair and have ruled that Mr McCreevy must exclude himself from any discussions on any of these cases he or his officials were involved in.

A commission spokesperson said Mr McCreevy, who was responsible for the internal market, was not in the principal department involved in any of them.

The ethics committee that investigated Mr McCreevy’s request decided there were no elements that pointed to a conflict of interest, but they included the condition to avoid any perception of such a conflict.

Most of the cases being reviewed involve aid given to airports, like Charleroi in Brussels, which some allege give Ryanair an advantage with lower charges.

While McCreevy courted controversy when he criticised the Lisbon Treaty, Michael O’Leary carried out a vociferous campaign in support of the Treaty.

Ryanair refused to comment on the EU decision describing it as “rumour”.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.