Facebook owner Meta lobbied Taoiseach, Tánaiste and others on EU-US data transfers

Seen and Heard: Ann Summers expansion, Ryanair after Michael O’Leary, Fade Street Social property, Roadbridge liquidation and Press Up debt facility

Meta's offices on Grand Canal Square: the social media company filed six new lobbying returns last week. Photograph: Alan Betson

Meta lobbied Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney about the transfer of European Union (EU) user data to the US, reports the Business Post.

The Facebook owner last week filed an entry in the lobbying register showing that its main Irish lobbyists, Stephanie Anderson and Dualta Ó Broin, contacted the three men and a number of senior civil servants about the subject.

Meta said it was “seeking Ireland’s support for resolution of EU-US data transfer issues”.

The company was fined a record €1.2 billion by the Data Protection Commission (DPC) last week for violating General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules and ordered to stop transatlantic data transfers within five months.


Meta Platforms Ireland filed a total of six returns to the lobbying register last week, with other topics including network fees – European telecoms operators’ proposals that technology companies contribute to broadband infrastructure costs – and “sharing Meta’s vision for the metaverse”.

Its lobbying involved meetings, phone calls and emails.

Ann Summers’ Irish expansion

Lingerie retailer Ann Summers is seeking to expand its chain in Ireland, having “rebased” its existing lease costs, reports the Sunday Independent, citing comments made in company accounts for Ann Summers Ireland (Retail) Ltd.

After the pandemic “slowed our Irish retail transformation”, the retailer “entered into extensive discussions with our landlords to ensure that our property costs reflect today’s much-changed market conditions”, the directors note in recently filed accounts.

“With our store costs now largely rebased to reflect today’s retail environment, we believe our iconic stores will thrive and we are actively looking at key new sites for the future.”

The company’s founder and executive chair, Jacqueline Gold, died in March aged 62.

Succession plans at Ryanair

Michael O’Leary says Ryanair is no longer heavily dependent on him and the airline has done “a lot of really good work during Covid and post-Covid” on its succession planning, reports the Business Post, citing a call with stock analysts.

Mr O’Leary, who became Ryanair chief executive in 1994 and group chief executive in 2019, was asked on the call about his contract, which is due to expire in 2028.

“It’s five years away. Nobody is thinking about it, firstly; it’s a matter for the board when we get to 2027 or 2028,” he said.

“Whether the board want me to stay on after that period of time, I don’t think is important one way or the other. I think this business is no longer heavily dependent on me.”

Fade Street property

Waste tycoon Eamon Waters has agreed to buy the Fade Street Social property in Dublin, potentially freeing up cash for restaurateur Dylan McGrath and his partner Vincent Melinn to pay off their creditor EMI-MR Investments, reports the Sunday Times.

Waters’s company Sretaw is understood by the newspaper to be paying €6.8 million for the city centre venue, which is owed by Defa Properties.

Defa, controlled by Melinn and McGrath, owes more than €5 million to Bolt Capital, a property lender backed by the family of the late Peter Sutherland. EMI-MR is owed close to €1 million.

Roadbridge liquidation

A committee of inspection will be appointed to oversee the liquidation of construction group Roadbridge at a meeting of its creditors this week, with the process of unwinding its affairs expected to take some time, according to the Sunday Independent.

The provisional liquidator of Roadbridge, once one of the country’s largest building firms, is understood to have received 130 terabytes of digital information on nine servers that now need to be analysed.

Small building firms and contractors owed substantial amounts have told the newspaper how they are now coming under pressure from their banks because of the financial issues caused by the collapse.

Press Up debt facility

Press Up, the hospitality group headed by Matt Ryan and Paddy McKillen Jr, has agreed a new €50 million debt facility with Cardinal Capital Group secured on its Dean Hotel and Townhouse extension in Dublin, according to the Sunday Times.

The new facility will refinance existing debt on the hotel and also include capital for further expansion of the site on Harcourt Street. It will consolidate three existing investment and development loans.