O'Neill need not give up role despite Ryanair appointment


Julie O’Neill will not be required to relinquish her role as chair of the audit committee at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation following her appointment to the board of Ryanair last week.

Ms O’Neill was secretary general of the department of transport from 2002 to 2009 and her appointment as a non-executive director of Ryanair surprised many in Government circles last week.

A department spokesman said the secretary general of the department, John Murphy, has had “discussions” with Ms O’Neill and has indicated he is “quite satisfied” for her to continue to chair the audit committee as there is not a “conflict of interest”.

“Her contribution in this role is highly valued and it is intended that she will continue in this role,” the spokesman said.

The department said Ms O’Neill had indicated to it her intention to take the role with Ryanair in advance of the appointment.

The audit committee acts as a source of advice to the accounting officer within the department. It has an advisory role, with no executive powers.

“Audit committees do not have any role whatsoever in relation to policy,” the spokesman said.

Ms O’Neill’s role with the audit committee carries a fee of €450 per meeting up to a maximum of €1,800 a year.