Friday 20 April 2018

'The name's O'Leary, Michael O'Leary' - airline boss joins exclusive gig

Michael O'Leary
Michael O'Leary
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

It's a secretive organisation for global political and business leaders, whose meetings in exotic locations evoke James Bond movies and well-mannered scions of industry.

And now brash Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, pictured, has apparently been asked to join the league of gentlemen known as the Bilderberg group.

A magnet for conspiracy theorists, the Bilderberg group was founded in 1954 and holds an annual conference designed to "foster dialogue between Europe and North America".

Each year, between 120 and 150 political leaders, as well as experts from industry, finance, academia and the media are invited to attend.

Previous Irish participants include Finance Minister Michael Noonan; former Irish attorney generals Peter Sutherland, Paul Gallagher and Dermot Gleeson; former Taoiseach John Bruton; and current Minister for Agriculture and Defence, Simon Coveney. Mr Coveney attended last year's event in Copenhagen, as did Mr Sutherland.

Lochlann Quinn, a co-founder of electric appliance giant Glen Dimplex and former AIB chairman, has also previously attended, as did the late Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald.

"Bilderberg was always fascinating and always informative," he recalled in 1998. "Because the meeting was private, people from a very diverse background could be very frank with each other."

The Bilderberg website states: "Thanks to the private nature of the conference, the participants are not bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed position."

"There is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued," it adds.

It will be interesting to see what the Bilderberg crew think of Mr O'Leary, who's not shy about letting fly.

The next conference takes place in June at the Interalpen Hotel in Austria.

Irish Independent

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