RYANAIR boss Michael O’Leary lashed out this morning at everybody from unions and business group to the government and the Dublin Airport Authority and labelled next year’s ‘Gathering’ as ‘The Grabbing’.
“May I welcome you to The Grabbing,” the outspoken chief executive told nearly 200 delegates from Ireland an abroad in blistering attacks at an aviation conference in Dublin. “Because this time, you’re screwed.”
He said the Dublin Airport Authority was raising charges at a time that will coincide with next year’s ‘Gathering’ event that the government is hoping will lure an additional 325,000 tourists to the country in 2013. The DAA has previously described the increases as “modest”, saying it hadn’t raised its core charges in two years.
“We like, actually, the Gathering. I thought it wasn’t a bad idea. There’s no reason not to welcome everyone back to Ireland,” said Mr O’Leary.
But he said that increasing charges at the airport and hiking bus and rail fares flew in the face of the efforts to promote the Gathering.
He also criticised government aviation policy – just as the government formally announced its plans for separating Shannon Airport from the DAA structure and making it an independent business.
Mr O’Leary told international delegates that it was his first visiting the National Conference Centre in Dublin.
“It’s my first time in the National Conference Centre – the second big white elephant building in this country after the DAA’s T2,” he said. “For those of you who are visiting this country and want to realise why we are broke, you’re sitting in it.”