Tuesday 25 October 2016

RTÉ hits back at O'Leary's 'North Korea' outburst

Published 10/10/2016 | 00:00

Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

RTÉ News chief Kevin Bakhurst has hit back after Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary branded the station a "rat-infested North Korean union shop" at a Fine Gael fundraiser.

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He said comments made by Mr O'Leary that referenced journalist Ingrid Miley were "extremely disappointing".

Details of the tirade by the millionaire businessman, in which he derided public service workers, emerged in the 'Sunday Independent'.

Mr O'Leary allegedly revealed he believed "immoral" striking gardaí should be sacked and private companies should be allowed to operate bus routes during strikes.

"I can't turn on the bloody '9 o'clock news' without having to see Ingrid Miley's face giving me the latest spew from Trotskyites."

But Mr Bakhurst said: "I find attacking individual journalists in this way extremely disappointing.

"RTÉ's coverage of business leaders, unions and workers is wholly fair and even-handed," he added.

Dermot O'Leary, of bus union the NBRU, said a planned meeting involving Fianna Fáil and Mr O'Leary should be cancelled.

In a letter he asked party leader Micheál Martin to "disassociate Fianna Fáil from such distasteful and frankly appalling attacks".

But the Fianna Fáil TD who has organised that meeting has now distanced the party from the event.

"This is not a Fianna Fáil event, not a fundraiser," Westmeath TD Robert Troy said, adding it was simply a "bringing together" of people to hear Mr O'Leary.

Irish Independent

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