Michael Noonan to attend Bilderberg conference in Germany

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary also among guests at secretive gathering of world powerbrokers

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary will both attend this year's secretive Bilderberg conference which begins in Dresden, Germany on Thursday.

They will feature among a list of leading names in global politics and industry at the three day event where a number of topics are up for discussion including China, European migration, the Middle East, Russia and the US "political landscape".

The veritable who’s who of world powerbrokers will also consider an agenda taking in cyber security, energy and commodity prices, the “precariat and middle class” and technological innovation.

Mr O’Leary also attended last year’s event in Bavaria.


The organisation says its conference is "designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America" but frequently draws comment surrounding its apparent secrecy.

Security has already been put in place around the Hotel Taschenbergpalais, which will host the 2016 gathering of politicians, policy-makers, financiers and bankers.

Bilderberg says about two thirds of participants come from Europe and the rest from North America. One third is drawn from the world of politics and government and the remainder from other fields, it says.

“The conference is a forum for informal discussions about major issues facing the world,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor any other participant may be revealed.”

This year's participants include former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger; former European Commission president José M Barroso; US senator Lindsey Graham; Belgian prime minister Charles Michel; Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands and German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

The private sector will be represented by, among others, Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell; Ana P Botín executive chairman of Banco Santander; John Cryan, chief executive of Deutsche Bank; Robert Dudley, group chief executive at BP.

Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent at NBC News; John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg and Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist will be among media attendees.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times