O’Leary: Noonan is dead right – “I am always right”

By Evelyn Ring

Saturday, January 21, 2012

RYANAIR boss Michael O’Leary has defended Finance Minister Michael
Noonan, who is under fire for suggesting people were leaving Irel-and
as a “lifestyle choice”.

There have been calls for Mr Noonan to apologise for the remarks, with
some people questioning whether he has lost touch with reality.

“He [Mr Noonan] is dead right, except, politically, it is not fucking
acceptable. I went abroad for a year. Most people I know went abroad,”
Mr O’Leary said yesterday.

“This idea that emigration is like getting on a potato ship in 1845,
never to be seen again, is bullshit. They are all coming home at
Christmas and at Easter.”

Mr O’Leary was speaking after Ryanair cabin crew presented DEBRA
Ireland with €100,000, money raised from their charity calendar that
will enable families from throughout Europe with children suffering
from the debilitating skin condition epidermolysis bullosa to enjoy a
respite week in specially adapted holiday accommodation in Malaga,

“We don’t have any God-given right to have a job here in Ireland.
There is a great opportunity, particularly for young people, to go
abroad for a couple of years. It is their choice whether or not they
want to come back,” said Mr O’Leary.

He also felt there was too much whinging about unemployment in Ireland.

“Jaysus, it is like the Famine all over again. I see nothing wrong
with emigration if it means people who would be unemployed and
miserable here in Ireland can go and get a job, whether it is in the
UK, US or Australia, at least then they will have the freedom to
choose whether they stay abroad or come back.

“It is being stuck here unemployed and drawing the fucking dole that
devastates people.”

Mr O’Leary said Ireland represented less than 10% of the airline’s
traffic, so emigration was “immaterial” to it.

Asked if he got fed up that nobody in the Government seemed to be
listening to his pearls of wisdom, he said: “Why should I get fed up?
We’re still growing; we’re still expanding; we’re still the world’s
most successful airline… If the Government doesn’t listen, the
growth goes elsewhere. It’s not my fault I am always right.”

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