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Fáilte Ireland chairman resigns over holiday in Italy

The chairman of the tourism body Fáilte Ireland has resigned his position, after he took a holid...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.57 15 Aug 2020


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Fáilte Ireland chairman resign...

Fáilte Ireland chairman resigns over holiday in Italy

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.57 15 Aug 2020


Share this article


The chairman of the tourism body Fáilte Ireland has resigned his position, after he took a holiday in Italy.

Tourism Minister Catherine Martin says she has accepted Michael Cawley's resignation.

In a statement, she said: "Tourism and hospitality have suffered significant losses since the start of this pandemic, with the industry in the three midlands counties of Laois, Kildare and Offaly particularly affected at present.

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"As a sign of solidarity with the industry, and to help the country re-open its schools safely, the Government and my department in particular have encouraged people to holiday in Ireland this year.

"The vast majority of Irish people have heeded that call, and are helping to keep our tourism industry afloat.

"While Italy is on the green list, meaning that people who return from there do not have to restrict their movements, the Government has called on people to avoid all non-essential travel.

"Many of our citizens and residents have followed this guidance at some personal and financial cost to themselves.

"I was disappointed to learn that the chair of Fáilte Ireland was holidaying in Italy."

She added: "I rang Mr Cawley this morning and he has offered his resignation which I have accepted.

"I wish to thank Mr Cawley for his service as chair of Fáilte Ireland."

"He recognises that solidarity with the industry is extremely important at this time, and I have accepted his resignation this afternoon because I believe his position was untenable."

Following the resignation, Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly said: "Michael has been an invaluable support to the executive team at Fáilte Ireland.

"He has made a significant contribution to developing and growing the tourism sector in Ireland.

"On behalf of the executive team and staff I want to express my thanks to Michael and I wish him well in the future."

Earlier, Labour Party spokesperson on tourism Senator Mark Wall said: "Mr Cawley's actions make a mockery of the Government's mantra that we are all supposedly in this together and this affair smacks of one rule for us and another rule for them, and I cannot see how he can expect to continue in his role.

"Irish people have made enormous personal sacrifices to suppress the spread of this deadly virus and for a senior official at a State agency to openly flout travel advice in the midst of the worst pandemic in living memory is frankly insulting and unacceptable."

Mr Cawley was appointed to head up the tourism authority back in 2014.

Prior to this, he had worked with Ryanair for 17 years until his retirement - most recently as its deputy chief executive and chief operating officer.

He previously served as chief financial officer and commercial director.

Before his time with Ryanair he served as group finance director of Gowan Group Limited, one of Ireland's largest private companies and the main distributor for Peugeot and Citroen automobiles.

Main image: Michael Cawley at Ryanair's half year results in 2010. Picture by: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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Catherine Martin Holiday Italy Michael Cawley Resignation Ryanair

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