Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 3 September 2015

Ryanair tycoon leaves €35m to charity

Published 22/06/2009

Ryanair magnate Cathal Ryan left €35m to charity when he died, it has emerged.

One of the original founders and first pilots with the airline, Cathal died at the age of 48 after a short battle with cancer.

High Court probate documents have now revealed that Cathal instructed trustees of his estate to give €35m to charity -- including at least €10m to charities helping Irish children, the performing arts and higher education.

He directed that his own children, Cillian, Claudia, Danielle and Cameron should each inherit €25,000 when they reach 25 years of age and €1m when they hit 30, with a further €1m on their 35th birthdays and finally another €5m at the age of 45.

The eldest son of the late Dr Tony Ryan, he died at his home in Celbridge in December 2007, shortly after his father's death.

He famously once produced his gold credit card to buy fuel at an airport which was refusing to refuel his plane because of an outstanding bill.

Having trained as a pilot in Sri Lanka in the early 1980s, Cathal had aviation in his blood long before his father set up Ryanair in trust for his three sons in 1985.

He left the Far East to become one of Ryanair's first pilots, while younger brother Declan entered the managerial ranks and youngest son Shane was still in school.

He eventually left the airline's board in 2002, having watched the family business become one of the world's biggest aviation success stories and having become a millionaire in his own right several times over in the process.

In later years, Cathal was best known for his focus on the family stud farm.

He also acted as a director of family investment vehicle Irelandia, which has been involved in the launch of various airlines, including Tiger Airways in Asia and AeroBus in Mexico.

Before his death, he spent a lot of time in Italy, and developed a keen interest in the performing arts.

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