O'Leary tells Noonan to stick to cuts
THE Government's economic policies are "very, very dangerous" and an "awful lot" remains to be done to spur Ireland's economic growth, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary warned.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr O'Leary said Government suggestions that €2bn of adjustments may not be necessary in autumn's budget were wrong.
"The Government is talking about not having to make €2bn of cuts in the next budget," he said. "It's very, very dangerous. They [the Government] should be out there saying its €2bn and not a penny less. There's still 18 months to go to the next election. They've one more budget to come."
Mr O'Leary, pictured, is not alone. The International Monetary Fund has urged the Government to stick to €2bn in adjustments in the forthcoming b udget despite rising tax revenues. The Washington-based fund said austerity so would ensure the Government retains "hard-won credibility" in international markets.
The Economic and Social Research Institute has also warned against tax cuts. The European Commission and the Fiscal Advisory Council have also urged that the full €2bn adjustment be implemented.
Finance Minister Michael Noo nan said last month that his role differed to that of the IMF.
"There is a different set of skills needed if you are a politician running a government department to somebody working for the IMF," he said. "It is not all cut and dried. I am a democrat and I have to bring the people with me."
Mr O'Leary said the banks still needed to be put back on their feet and noted that unemployment remains too high.
"We still have a huge unemployment problem," he said.
"I look at the recent Cabinet reshuffle and you get Labour coming back with pie-in-the-sky nonsense about a low-pay commission rather than having a job creation commission. It's not about whether people should be paid €8.70 an hour or €11 an hour or whatever. It's about how do you get almost 400,000 unemployed back to work."
New Labour leader and Tanaiste Joan Burton has called for the establishment of a low-pay commission to examine the minimum wage.
Mr O'Leary, who this week confirmed he'll be staying as Ryanair boss for the next five years at least, acknowledged that sectors such as tourism and even construction are showing growth, while IT remains strong.
"I'm always optimistic. You're always somewhere in an economic cycle," he said. "We haven't managed those cycles particularly well. It's a favourite pastime here to blame the politicians, but who elects the politicians? We do. And we get worse and worse at it."
"The lack of productivity in the public sector needs to be addressed," he added. "The health service is a shambles. It badly needs strong management, which it has never had."
Mr O'Leary also dismissed the upcoming banking inquiry.
"Everybody knows what went on and what went wrong. Having a banking inquiry makes no sense whatsoever."