Oh really, O'Leary
Published 04/01/2012 | 05:00
• I'm reluctant to deflate the superb panto act of Michael O'Leary of Ryanair (Irish Independent, January 1) and the free publicity it will generate for his company, but his blanket condemnation of public servants is surely ungracious to those who, in the early 1980s, recommended to their political masters the deregulation of air travel within the EC. Mr O'Leary should acknowledge that without the arguments of many dedicated civil servants in Dublin, London and Brussels, Ryanair might never have taken off.
As the one who drafted the section on competition in civil aviation in the Delors 'Economics of 1992 Report' that convinced European leaders to rid the EC of most of the remaining barriers to internal trade in goods and services, I can recall the vehement opposition of many flag-carriers to any form of deregulation. If Mr O'Leary believes bureaucrats incapable of innovation, may I recall that the short popular paperback version of our 1992 initiative was translated into over 20 different languages and sold almost a quarter million copies. Though retired, I have read of Mr O'Leary's performance and originality of vision, I hope he attracts even more passengers to his Brussels South airport, dare I say it, so popular with European public servants.
Wezembeek 1970, Belgium