Michael O’Leary favours Varadkar in leadership race

Ryanair boss reiterates claim that he would ‘shoot’ all Dublin cyclists

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has voiced his support for Leo Varadkar in the race for the Fine Gael leadership.

Speaking in an interview with The Sunday Business Post, Mr O'Leary said he favoured the Minister for Social Protection but that he would prefer either candidate to Micheál Martin, who he said "was driving the bus when they drove it over the cliff".

"What I don't want to see is the Shinners (Sinn Féin) getting any toe hold here because frankly their economic policies have failed and they're been practised at the moment in North Korea with no success whatsoever."

Mr O’Leary also reiterated previous claims that he would “shoot” all Dublin cyclists is the solution to traffic congestion in the city centre.


The Ryanair boss also called on Dublin City Council to focus on building multi-storey carparks to generate revenue for the city and get parking off the streets rather than planning a pedestrianised plaza outside Trinity College.

"Why not put a multi-storey car park under St Stephen's green? It pays for itself, generates enormous revenue for Dublin Corporation. And you get all the parking [off the streets]," he said in an interview with The Sunday Business Post on Sunday.

“People are not interested in aesthetic improvements; they want to live in a city that works. They want to live in a city that works for them.”

“We should have sensible solutions here that are not f**king this paranoia here about looking after f**king cyclists because [of] a couple of head bangers in Dublin f**king Corporation.”

Mr O’Leary accused Dublin City Council of “f**king up this city”, saying the corporation was run by “a bunch of cyclists” who live close to the city centre.

“When you look at what we’re doing with the planning of the roads, we’re making it less and less tolerable for people to drive around the city. Cars pay for themselves, cyclists pay for nothing. . . . . I’d shoot them all.”

It is not the first time the Ryanair boss has lashed out at cyclists in Dublin city centre. Last year he responded to the local authority’s Smart City programme by saying cyclists should be “taken out and shot” and said Dublin needed better commuter solutions than merely increasing the number of cyclists and bike lanes.

Mike McKillen from Cyclist.ie described Mr O’Leary as “a disgrace” following his comments and warned that his public hatred of cyclists would give drivers more reasons “to go at cyclists or go past them dangerously, too closely or too fast. It should be seen as incitement to hatred”.

Last week Mr O'Leary announced that Ryanair may have to stop selling flights to and from the UK at the end of 2018 if Britain and the EU fail to agree a post-Brexit aviation deal.

He said the airline was prepared for a “worst-case scenario” where the UK would no longer be part of the EU’s Open Skies air transport treaty after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

However, Mr O’Leary has insisted Brexit would not affect the airline’s growth and said the company could grow to 200 million passengers per annum.

Asked if he would ever consider getting into politics, Mr O’Leary replied that he had “no desire to get into f**king politics in one of the government ministries. I wouldn’t survive a week in a government ministry because I don’t have the patience to be telling people what they want to hear. I’d be telling them the truth instead.”

Mr O’Leary also voiced his support for protecting the single market but said he opposed “further political union”.

“I believe that the single market has been one of the revolutions of my life. We also campaigned actively against Brexit.

“We should continue to oppose further political union and be aggressive advocates of the single market. I don’t see any great contradiction there.”

He also reiterated his stance on climate change, describing the shift in the planet’s weather patterns as “f**king rubbish”. He said the term “global warming” had been ditched because “they can’t stand up global warming anymore, because there hasn’t been any rise in temperatures in mean terms for the last ten years.

“There’s this assumption that if we do something about carbon consumption, or taxing carbon consumption, the climate will stop changing. It’s complete and utter rubbish.”

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast