Aviation chief says coffee with TD isn’t the same as lobbying
Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) chairman Rose Hynes claimed that a meeting with the chairman of the Oireachtas transport committee, which she did not disclose during a recent appearance before the committee, does not constitute lobbying.
ine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell confirmed that he met Ms Hynes on the street outside her constituency office in Limerick last summer and that they had coffee and a “very general talk” about aviation and Shannon Airport.
Ms Hynes did not disclose this information when asked at an Oireachtas Transport Committee meeting on November 25 if she had, since her appointment as IAA President last January, met with committee members or had contacted them directly or indirectly prior to his appearance. .
“During the summer, as I remember, she passed me on the street in front of my office. We had a brief chat and had a coffee outside on the street – there is a cafe right next to my office. From my recollection, we had a very general discussion about aviation and Shannon Airport, ”said Mr. O’Donnell.
He also confirmed that he briefly chatted with Ms Hynes two weeks before her appearance with TDs and Senators as she was pulled over in her car at traffic lights outside her office. He said it was to confirm his presence at the committee later in November. He said he did not consider any of these meetings to be lobbying.
In a statement released through a public relations firm, Ms Hynes said: ‘During the committee meeting, I was specifically asked if any meetings were held with committee members with the intention to lobby.
“Lobbying is clearly defined in legislation under the Lobbying Act. I repeat now, as I did at the time, that no such meeting or lobbying has taken place.
“I ran into Kieran O’Donnell on the street in Limerick where I live. We had a brief conversation. None of this constituted lobbying in any form.
“In the course of my work and my daily life, I often meet and cross paths with many public officials. It’s a normal part of the job in any senior role.
“It would be impossible for a civil servant in a managerial position to document every meeting he has on a daily basis. That is why a clear distinction is made for lobbying activities, and I wholeheartedly support and adhere to these rules.
“Did I engage in any lobbying activity at any point with a committee member?” The answer is categorically and categorically, no, I haven’t.
During her appearance on November 25, Ms Hynes was questioned by Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley. “Since your appointment as appointed president by the government, have you met with members of the committee or contacted members of the committee directly or indirectly? ” he said.
She answered “no” several times.
Ms Hynes, the former Shannon Group President who currently sits on eight different boards, was appointed IAA Interim President last January without a publicly announced competition process. The move preceded government plans to merge the safety and security functions of the aviation regulator with the economic and consumer protection function of the Aviation Commission.