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Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan (GP) has defended the process that resulted in the appointment of North Clare woman Rose Hynes as interim chairperson of the Irish Aviation Authority.

In January, Minister Ryan announced the appointment of the New Quay native as the interim chairperson of the Irish Aviation Authority. She previously served on the boards of Bank of Ireland, Fyffes plc, Ervia, Aer Lingus Group plc, Mincon and Concern.

Now living in Limerick, Rose was first appointed as a board member of the Shannon Airport Authority in 2013, she headed up the Aviation Business Development Task Force that led to Shannon’s separation from the daa and was establishing chairperson of Shannon Airport and later, Shannon Group when it was formally established in 2014.

She remained in the role of Chairperson until August of last year. Former Minister for Transport, Shane Ross (IND) revealed in his memoir that then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (FG) played a pivotal role in ensuring her contract received a twelve month extension.

Limerick TD, Maurice Quinlivan (SF) in a parliamentary question asked the Minister on the background and process involved that led to Hynes’ appointment as the interim chairperson of the Irish Aviation Authority.

Deputy Quinlivan sought detail on the recommendations that led to the post being filled by the former Chairperson of Shannon Group and queried why the Public Appointments Service “was bypassed in this instance”.

According to the Green Party leader, “Ms Hynes was appointed, with the agreement of the Government, to help guide the IAA through a key period in a regulatory reform process that will result in significant institutional changes. There are some important strategic and business decision to be taken in the early part of this year in order to prepare the ground for this, and I was unwilling to risk leaving a vacancy at the top of the Company which would in any way jeopardise progress”.

He stated that the experience of the Clare woman in aviation “alongside her background in leading other State agency restructuring programmes was a key reason for her appointment as interim Chair while the Company undergoes these important institutional reforms”.

“I fully intend to initiate a formal recruitment process under the State Boards Appointment guidelines later in the year to coincide with the passing of the Air Navigation and Transport Bill. At this point, formal processes will be put in place to recruit a permanent Chair and Board members for the newly established IAA and also a Chair and Board members for the new commercial air navigation company, which will be established as a result of the institutional reforms,” Minister Ryan stated.

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