Belfast Telegraph

Ex-juice bar owner gets Republic's top finance job

By Maeve Dineen

A man who spent the best part of the financial crisis running juice bars in the south of France has become the Republic's most powerful civil servant.

John Moran has been named as the new secretary general in the Department of Finance.

He will replace Kevin Cardiff, who controversially left the post in January to become Ireland's representative on the European Court of Auditors.

Mr Moran will be paid a salary of €200,000 (£160,000) - less than the Irish Government's salary cap.

Mr Moran's appointment is sure to raise a few eyebrows in the department, especially since he beat off competition for the post from two career civil servants - Assistant General Secretary Michael McGrath and Second Secretary general Ann Nolan.

While Mr Moran's CV portrays a wealth of financial experience, it also reveals a significant career gap for the period 2005-2010.

A spokesperson for the department yesterday confirmed that Mr Moran spent this time in the Languedoc region of France running juice bars.

He returned to Ireland in June 2010 to work as the head of wholesale bank supervision at the Central Bank at the request of its governor, Patrick Honohan. Last year, the Limerick native was parachuted into the Department of Finance from the Central Bank.

Mr Moran is considered a trusted aide of Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who put him in charge of bank restructuring when he took over at the department.

Mr Moran is also among the select number of officials who are occasionally invited to attend the unofficial war cabinet of the economic crisis, the Economic Management Council.