Ross tells O'Leary: 'I'll happily show you who's taken over the asylum'
Shane Ross wants to proudly proclaim himself a 'lunatic', just to show Michael O'Leary who has taken over the asylum of government.
The Ryanair chief described Independent politicians as "lunatics" back in April and has also made disparaging remarks about non-party TDs not getting into power.
Ross, now the Transport Minister, says his adulation of the airline boss has waned.
"I'm not quite as proud of Michael O'Leary as I used to be," Ross told the International Air Transport Association's annual jamboree. "It's not said with any feeling of dismay or disapproval," the new minister said.
"Just before the election Michael O'Leary declared in one of those outspoken moments...that there would be no Independents in the next Government.
"That doesn't mean that I'm not still very fond of him, but I would be happy to greet him and to show him who has taken over the asylum," Ross said.
O'Leary now claims he didn't describe Independents as lunatics, but he said: "People are great for criticising politicians while they can't form a government and we as an electorate should criticise ourselves.
"If you're going to elect 40pc of the Dáil that's going to be the local idiot or the local campaigner for the local lunatic asylum, and then we're surprised we can't form a stable government for a four or five year period."
The Ryanair boss also says he would have "sacked" all of the Luas drivers following their strikes over pay, describing their role as "a job that's already paid double the rate that it is in Blackpool, where it takes you about two-and-a-half nano seconds to learn how to drive a tram".
Mr O'Leary says a strike would solve the dispute.