Ryanair boss says radical action needed for recovery
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary said the Government should take tougher action to plug the massive "€20bn" budget deficit and "sack the bastards" in the civil service whose positions were now surplus to requirements.
Speaking to the Irish Independent from Oslo yesterday, Mr O'Leary said everyone, including the rich and the poor, should be paying more tax and the unemployed should only get the dole for six months before being told to go and get a job.
Mr O'Leary said the Government was "not dealing with the problem" of the deficit and that it should be aiming to take out €9bn to €10bn in costs every year for the next two to three years.
Asked what his advice would be to the Government in relation to cuts, Mr O'Leary said: "Aim for more than you need, because then you just might get there."
He claimed that government economic forecasts were based on "hopeless" figures and that in order to cut the deficit, two-thirds of the savings would have to be generated from cuts and the remainder from higher personal taxes.
"People are ready for the cuts, so just do it. Income tax should go up, but the corporate tax rate shouldn't be touched," he said.
Mr O'Leary added that the dole should be reduced and should only be paid for the first six months of unemployment, after which recipients should be told to "go and get a job".
"There's a €20bn gap and it needs a broad-brush approach. It can't be targeted at one just one sector or the other."
The Government wants to try and reduce the country's budget deficit to 3pc of gross domestic product by 2014 from the expected 32pc level it will be by the end of this year.
Mr O'Leary added that unless tough action was taken rapidly, Ireland's financial destiny would be out of the country's hands.
"We will get the IMF and we will deserve it," he said. "Even the bond markets don't believe the Government any more."
He suggested that the Government needed to start selling "non-core" state-owned assets .
"Do you want to cut children's allowance or sell non-core state assets?" Mr O'Leary asked.
He maintained that children's allowance, alongside the dole, had to be re-examined to ensure that those who don't need it don't get it.
Meanwhile, Labour described the statement that the State is to seek a buyer for its 25pc share in Aer Lingus because it is broke as "alarming" and claimed any such move would be a disaster for consumers.
Labour transport spokesman Joe Costello urged Transport Minister Noel Dempsey to publicly state that the Government had no intention of selling its share to Ryanair.