Brian Hayes under fire for taking ‘revolving door’ to private sector

Written by Martin Banks on 8 January 2019 in News

Irish MEP Brian Hayes has been criticised for “taking the revolving door” to the private sector when he steps down as a deputy ahead of May’s European elections.

Photo Credit: Press Association

Brian Hayes, the Irish Christian-Democrat and influential vice chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) announced on Twitter that after the end of this parliamentary term he will become CEO of the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

A statement issued by Hayes and seen by this website says “there is life after politics.”

He says that politics has “been a constant in my life over 25 years” and adds, “There comes a time for everyone to leave the stage - for me that time is now.”


“I am taking this decision for family and professional reasons.”

Hayes, who has served as a councillor, senator and government minister in Ireland, says he has told Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of his decision, adding, “My party (Fine Gael) has never been in such a healthy condition. It is in touch with Ireland’s mainstream and articulates a strong, modern pro-European narrative for our country.”

Referring to his new position as CEO of the BPFI, Hayes says, “There are clearly very big challenges facing the Irish banks especially around the questions of trust and confidence.”

“There is a big job of work to be done in this regard. However, central to Ireland’s continued economic recovery must be a healthy, sustainable and customer-focused banking sector,” Hayes adds in the statement.

“The revolving door is turning too fast for Brian Hayes. MEPs need a cooling-off period before switching from representing public interests to lobbying for the financial industry” Sven Giegold MEP


His decision, however, was condemned by German MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group and the European Parliament’s rapporteur for transparency, accountability and integrity.

Giegold said, “The revolving door is turning too fast for Brian Hayes. MEPs need a cooling-off period before switching from representing public interests to lobbying for the financial industry.”

He commended Hayes’ announcement as a “positive and rare example of transparency nearly eight months before his change from public office to lobbying,” but added that while Hayes’ transparency is “laudable” his decision to move to the private sector after he steps down as an MEP “leads to a conflict of interest with his present roles in EU legislation.”

“EU citizens and the European Parliament’s Code of Conduct expect MEPs to act by the principles of disinterest, integrity, honesty and respect for Parliament’s reputation. To resolve such potential conflict of interest, Hayes should abstain from voting on matters of financial services and hand over his legislative roles to colleagues,” Giegold said.

Despite repeated attempts to contact him, Hayes was not available for comment.

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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