State tourism agency Fáilte Ireland seeks new chief

Board chaired by Paul Carty on interim basis since Michael Cawley’s exit over holiday

The Government is seeking applications for a new chairman/woman of the board of the State tourism authority Fáilte Ireland one year on from the resignation of former Ryanair executive Michael Cawley.

Mr Cawley departed as chairman last August after media reports that he was on a family holiday in Italy at a time when Fáilte Ireland was promoting domestic holidays and the Government had advised – but not legislated – against non-essential travel.

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin telephoned Mr Cawley on his holiday on the morning that the media report surfaced and he resigned. He was replaced on an interim basis as chairman by Paul Carty, the former managing director of the Guinness Storehouse tourist attraction in Dublin.

The Government has now opened a formal process via public appointments to fill the post for a five-year term. The role will require a commitment of about 20 days per year in return for board fees of €20,520.


Although Fáilte Ireland directors meet remotely each month due to the Covid-19 crisis, the position is being advertised on the basis that the new chairman/woman will have to oversee a more typical five board meetings per year.

The 20 days includes five days for the meetings themselves, five pre-meeting preparation sessions of one hour each, and five three-hour pre-meeting document reading sessions. The chairman/woman must also be available for an annual meeting with the Minister.

Fáilte Ireland is responsible for promoting domestic tourism, the development of the State's tourism product and also tourism staff training. Another State agency, Tourism Ireland, is responsible for promoting Ireland to foreign visitors.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times