Saturday 21 September 2019

Donohoe joins O'Leary at Bilderberg

Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary Photo: Mark Condren
Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary Photo: Mark Condren

Hannah Borno

The secretive Bilderberg Group of business and political leaders is meeting in the Italian city of Turin for three days, from June 7 to June 10, with Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary sitting on its organising steering committee.

As the Irish representative on the steering committee, Mr O'Leary has invited Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Eamonn Brennan, the director general of the air traffic control organisation Eurocontrol, to participate.

The annual Bilderberg conference brings together a mix of senior politicians, financiers and business people. This year's event will feature four prime ministers, the secretary general of Nato, and the secretary of state of the Vatican and the King of Holland.

CEOs from Airbus, Shell, Total and Vodafone are also due to attend. Presiding over the event is the group's president, Henri de Castries, the vice-chairman of Nestlé and a director of HSBC.

Ireland traditionally holds a single seat on the 33-strong steering committee.

For many years it was taken by the late Peter Sutherland, who first introduced Mr O'Leary to the group in 2015. The Ryanair CEO quickly joined the group's steering committee, to replace the ageing Mr Sutherland.

Top of the agenda for the 2018 summit is: "Populism in Europe". Also being discussed at the Turin conference will be "Saudi Arabia and Iran", "Russia", "Artificial Intelligence", "Free trade", "The 'post-truth' world" and "US world leadership".

Transparency campaigners argue that having politicians sequestered away in a highly-guarded hotel for three days with corporate CEOs, hedge-fund moguls and no press oversight can lead to corruption.

Irish Independent

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