Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ryanair boss O’Leary gets called nasty names by writer in Northern Irish political journal

"Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone
It’s with O’Leary in the grave”
The above quotation from WB Yeats’ poem September 1913 appears to prove the expression what goes around comes around. Although the poem was written
almost a century ago it could quite easily apply to the present day, but the contemporary O’Leary is not in the grave (although many disgruintled former Ryanair passengers may wish he was) and in fact represents the antithesis of Yeats' misty eyed idealised notion of saints and scholars dancing around a circle of standing stones - ie Ireland’s (if not Europe’s) least popular businessman Michael O’Leary, head honcho at Europe’s least popular airline Ryanair.
Anyway, to get to the point, the latest issue of Fortnight, Northern Ireland’s monthly (not fortnightly, despite the title – a potential goldmine for a raft of Irish jokes) political and cultural journal recently arrived on my door mat courtesy of the Arm’s Belfast correspondent. In it there are articles by our occasional contributor, the very same (or should that be “very sane”?) Phil Larkin on the SDLP and our one-off contributor Andrew Charles on Fianna Fáil moving north (remember folks – you saw them here first!), but what caught my eye was a piece on Ryanair’s top man. John O’Farrell (apparently not the same guy who wrote Things Can Only Get Better: Eighteen Miserable Years in the Life of a Labour Supporter) makes it clear from the start that he’s not terribly fond of Michael O’Leary or the socio-economic sub-culture that he comes from. Drawing on material from Alan Ruddock’s book Michael O’Leary: a Life in Full Flight, (which he is similarly unimpressed by) O’Farrell launches into a structured character assassination of “The Man We Love to Hate with the airline We Still Keep Using” and his ilk

One particular paragraph stands out:
“The uncomfortable feeling that returned to me continually was not the horrible thought that the odd time that I bought 20 Rothmans from Kestral Corner might have sent this horrible vacuous man to his present stratospheric heights, but the noise he makes. It sent me back to The Bailey in the early ‘80s, to that braying racket of wannabe rich kids high-fiveing each other over sloppy pints of ‘Heino’, and reminded me that for all my liberal tolerance there is still a group of people on this Earth that reduce me to an almost genocidal rage. I still think they’re c***s. I know that their identical descendants are still festering the same waterholes and adoring the waggery and brass neck of their hero Michael O’Leary.
There. I said it. I wholeheartedly recommend this book if you want a terrifying vision of the future, of an economy dominated by men with not a shred of decency, an ounce of humanity or a spit of morality.”

I'm no fan of O'Leary either, but the reputation of a man who thrives on being despised can only be strengthened by such a diatribe. Romantic Ireland dead and gone indeed.


Reg said...

I like O'Leary. He's an excellent businessman and a genius in promoting his company (and himself!).

Also, I've never had a problem with Ryanair. They tout themselves as a cheap, no-frills airline - and do exactly what they say on the tin.

CW said...

Reg, if you've never had a problem with Ryanair then you're one of the lucky few! I had to wait for my luggage on arival at Stanstead for the best part of 3 hours once. I will admit however that I still use the bastards because as you say they are cheap!