Business Irish

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Lawyer who helped negotiate bailout to get DAA post

AVIATION

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Leading lawyer Padraig O'Riordain, who helped negotiate Ireland's bailout terms and advised the government on the creation of Nama, has been approved by the Cabinet as the new chairman of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).

A cabinet source confirmed that Mr O'Riordain's appointment was signed off following a meeting by ministers yesterday.

The former managing partner of law firm Arthur Cox, Mr O'Riordain is set to appear before the Oireachtas transport committee early in the new year when he will be probed by its members before formally taking up the role.

Mr O'Riordain (46), who wasn't contactable yesterday, was managing partner of Arthur Cox from 2003 until November this year. He still remains a partner with the firm.

He'd been tipped by some as the new attorney general when the new Government was elected this year.

Mr O'Riordain has advised the Government since the eruption of the banking crisis in 2008. He assisted on the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.

He has previously described the bailout negotiations that included the IMF, the EU, the UK, Sweden and Denmark as an "intense 10 days".

"This is more of a refinancing," he said of the €80bn rescue package. "It's not a bailout insofar as people are writing us cheques. These are loans."

His new appointment eliminates a vacuum at the DAA that's been waiting to be filled since May this year.

Former Greencore chief executive David Dilger resigned from the role that month following strong differences of opinion with Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.

It is understood the pair were at odds over a controversial bonus awarded to chief executive Declan Collier. Mr Varadkar threatened to sack the entire board unless the bonus was waived.

The DAA is also now hunting for a new chief executive after Mr Collier recently announced that he won't seek to renew his contract when it expires next April. He's taking up a position as chief executive of London City Airport.

Mr O'Riordain is also a non-executive director at betting group Paddy Power and at investment group TVC. He will have his work cut out for him in the DAA role. It has been trying to shore up traffic declines, while Mr Varadkar is also currently contemplating a report into the future of Ireland's state-owned airports.

Mr O'Riordain, who also served as chairman of the previous government's Financial Legislation Advisory Forum, graduated from UCC in 1986. He also received masters degrees at UCC and Harvard.

Irish Independent

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