Ryanair does classic U-turn
“The record of the Department of Transport in this country is one of mismanagement, incompetence, monopoly protectionism and damaging the consumer interest at every hand’s turn.
“The sooner this nest of incompetence and ineptitude is shut down the better.
“Alternatively, we should rename it DUMP (the Department for Useless Monopoly Protection).”
So said Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary at the Kenmare economic conference in October 2007.
Exactly one year later, his then colleague Jim Callaghan had this to say about the department and its use of consultants.
“The Department of Transport is now a by-word for incompetence and inefficiency,” he said.
“This department now proposes to waste a further €1.4 million getting in even more useless consultancy reports, and advice to do what civil servants with their fat cat bonuses in the Department of Transport should do themselves.”
Who was secretary general of the department during both those years?
Julie O’Neill. The same Julie O’Neill who was appointed as a non-executive director of Ryanair yesterday.
She stepped down as secretary general in mid 2009 after seven years in the role.
O’Neill’s association with DUMP didn’t seem to weigh on Ryanair chairman David Bonderman yesterday.
Bonderman was “delighted” that O’Neill and Louise Phelan of PayPal were joining the board of the airline.
“They bring significant skills, career success and experience to the board,” he added, without a hint of irony.
It’s a classic U-turn, even by Ryanair’s standards.