Announcing McNamara’s departure, Ryanair stated: 'Stephen McNamara, after four years of being battered and abused by Michael O'Leary on one side and the European media on the other, has decided to pursue an easier life and will, in February next year, join the IRFU as its director of communications.'
He will leave the airline in February, 'after an extensive round of lunches and dinners with his many friends and admirers in the media, all paid for by the Ryanair press entertainment budget of €3.94'.
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary said: 'I would like to thank Stephen for the fantastic job he's done for Ryanair over the past four years. As a company that spends little on advertising, we rely on our communications department to generate loads of free PR, as well as responding to the never-ending series of absurd claims and fanciful stories that surface on a daily basis.
‘Working in the calm waters of Irish rugby should prove a piece of cake after four years in Ryanair. We wish Stephen every success as he joins the IRFU, and hope that they will be as successful over the next four years as Stephen and Ryanair have been over the past four.’
The company announced it was launching a search for its new head of comms – a position O’Leary described as 'high profile and incredibly overpaid' and that, the airline claims, some in the media have dubbed 'the worst job in PR'.
McNamara commented: ‘I am sorry to be leaving Ryanair after four incredible years but I am looking forward to joining a great team at the IRFU.
'This is one of the fastest moving companies in Ireland, and I have enjoyed promoting Ryanair and dealing with the media across 22 different EU countries, as well as putting out fires, usually late on a Friday afternoon, when some crazy claim appears about Ryanair's continuing 28-year success, our incredible safety record and our unbending commitment to offering the lowest fares to consumers in every market in which we operate.'