Ryanair to promote Lisbon Yes


RYANAIR IS to spend €500,000 on advertising and cheaper airline seats in its campaign for a Yes vote in the Lisbon referendum, its chief executive Michael O’Leary said yesterday.

“Ireland’s future success depends on being at the heart of Europe and our membership of the euro,” he said.

Mr O’Leary said the company would spend €200,000 on newspaper and internet advertising and posters, and €300,000 on “deeply discounted seats”, to emphasise the EU’s policy on lower air fares was one of the reasons for Ryanair’s existence.

Speaking at a press conference in Dublin, Mr O’Leary said if Ireland did not vote Yes, “our economic future will be destroyed by Government and Civil Service mismanagement and the narrow vested interests of the public sector trade unions.” He said he believed a majority of the Irish people was minded to vote Yes this time because of the economic uncertainty. But if the campaign was left to “Brian Cowen, Micheál Martin, and all the other incompetents”, there was a danger it could be lost again.

He said he could think of no better reason to vote Yes than “doing the opposite of that recommended by some of the headbangers” calling for a No vote. He criticised the “ragbag amalgam of the No campaign, led by economic illiterates like Sinn Féin, the UK Independence Party and the Socialist Party”.

Mr O’Leary said without Europe and the euro, “the Irish economy would be run by our incompetent politicians, our inept Civil Service and the greedy public sector trade union bosses who, through social partnership, have in recent years destroyed Ireland’s competitiveness, created an epidemic of useless quangos and feathered the nests of the public sector at the expense of ordinary consumers in Ireland”.

He said his airline had not participated in the first Lisbon referendum. “This time, we cannot afford that kind of complacency.’’

Meanwhile, trade union leaders supporting the Lisbon Treaty said yesterday that it represented a major advance for workers.

The Charter Group, which comprises trade unionists who are campaigning for a Yes vote, said in a report that the evidence was the EU had been a champion of workers’ rights for the past 35 years.

Secretary of the group Blair Horan, of the Civil and Public Service Union, said the report showed conclusively that it was the EU that protected workers’ rights in Ireland.