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Cullen criticises Varadkar in DAA row

AN outgoing director of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has accused transport minister Leo Varadkar of trying to "flex his muscles" with the DAA and accused him of effectively neglecting the Authority.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Bill Cullen, who completed his term on the DAA board last month along with three other directors, said that while he had a good relationship with previous ministers for transport, Mr Varadkar had been "difficult to get on with".

"He's a young man flexing his muscles," he said.

"[Dublin Airport] makes its own revenues; gives profit to the Government and it keeps expanding and upgrading all the time and I think the minister is going to take a while to get his arms around that.

"I think Michael O'Leary has influenced him in terms of the cheaper route to go and I totally disagree with that," he added.

Meanwhile, a rash of resignations at the top of the DAA has prompted concerns of a leadership vacuum in the authority.

Chairman David Dilger stepped down in May and has yet to be replaced, while chief executive Declan Collier announced his resignation last month. Mr Cullen and three other directors finished their terms in November.


"The then chairman resigned very abruptly and we've got nothing since. We've been working without knowing what's going to happen.

"I took over as acting chairman and now the three other senior board members and I are leaving and haven't been replaced yet that I know of.

"Six months without a chairman says something [about the company] so the minister has to look after that himself. It's hard to get the right person for the job and now Declan Collier has resigned as well."

Mr Cullen speculated that one of the factors in Mr Collier's resignation was the stand off between the DAA and Mr Varadkar over Mr Collier's bonus during the summer.

'The Apprentice' boss said the minister was "wrong" to have taken on Mr Collier so publicly over a bonus he believes will ultimately have to be paid.

See Interview page 5

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