Dublin being ‘strangled by cycle lanes and restrictions on car movements’, says Michael O’Leary

Ryanair chief calls for car parks in city centre for electric vehicles and new motorway around M50

Head of Ryanair Michael O’Leary leaving Leinster House on Wednesday after meeting with the Oireachtas Committee on Transport. Photograph: Sam Boal/Collins Photos

Dublin is being “strangled” by cycle lanes and “nonsensical restrictions” on the movement of cars, the head of Ryanair Michael O’Leary has told an Oireachtas committee. He also said there seemed to be only a few cyclists using existing bicycle lanes.

He suggested that authorities should be building car parks in the city centre to cater for the growing numbers who in the future will use electric cars to commute to Dublin. He also said the Government should plan for the development of a new orbital motorway outside of the existing M50.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Transport on Wednesday the Ryanair chief said the Government should have two or three private jets of its own to bring the Taoiseach and senior figures to official meetings. He suggested these should be operated by the Defence Forces.

Mr O’Leary said that in the next government there should be a dedicated minister for infrastructure to concentrate on projects that would be needed for a future population of over six million.


“We do not plan well for the next 10 years. The location of the new national children’s hospital is a disgrace. It should be on the M50. The way we have burned through €2 billion – €3 billion building what is a reasonably straightforward (hospital) is a disgrace because we don’t do infrastructure properly.

“Instead of having a Ministry for Transport, Communications and whatever you are having yourself we should have a ministry for infrastructure that sets out 10-year plans and 15-year plans which would make assumptions on what the population will be and how we get from here to there.

“Then we would not have issues such as the DAA (and the cap on passenger numbers at Dublin Airport) and the badly-designed and ridiculously-delivered children’s hospital. I would hope we would have much more effective delivery of infrastructure. But we do not do infrastructure well because we do not focus on infrastructure. It gets divided between five or six different departments.”

The Ryanair chief said many new houses were being constructed outside of the M50. He suggested that not everyone could travel into Dublin using public transport. By the mid-2030s many vehicles would be electric, and the Government should be looking at the development of car parks in the city centre.

He said the Government was wasting a lot of taxpayers’ money on “messing around and leasing in aircraft” to bring the Taoiseach and other senior Ministers to official meetings. “This Government should have two or three private jets.”

He said it was a disgrace that the Taoiseach when attending European summits did not arrive on a State aircraft.

“We should grow up. This idea for political reasons we don’t want to be seen getting on a private jet is a nonsense. We have a couple of tatty old Lear jets that are always breaking down. The Government should just go and spend €20 or €30 million and buy a proper private jet and if the Taoiseach or Tánaiste need to go to meetings then that is what we should use it for – and the air force should operate all that.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent