Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar has announced that he plans to appoint former Ryanair Deputy CEO Michael Cawley as Chairman of Fáilte Ireland.

Michael Cawley worked with Ryanair for 17 years and was the airline's deputy chief executive and chief operating officer until his retirement.

He had previously worked as the airline's chief financial officer and commercial director.

Prior to his time with Ryanair, he worked with the Gowan Group Limited, a distributor for Peugeot and Citroen cars in Ireland.

“I’m delighted to nominate a Chairman of the calibre of Michael Cawley and I think he is an ideal fit for Fáilte Ireland. Michael played a pivotal role in Ryanair over the last two decades and helped it to become one of the world’s leading airlines," Minister Varadkar said.

“This appointment comes at a crucial time. The tourism industry is now firmly in recovery and visitor numbers are ahead of target. However, our resources remain limited, and Michael will have a key role in targeting investments carefully,” Minister Varadkar added. 

Welcoming the appointment, Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn said: “I look forward to working with Michael as, along with our partners throughout the industry, we work to sustain and build on the recent growth in the sector.”

In line with the Government’s political reform programme, Mr Cawley’s appointment will take effect following an appearance at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications.

He has been appointed for a five year term in accordance with Section 14 of the National Tourism Development Authority Act, 2003.