Monday 20 May 2019

O'Leary insists second election is 'inevitable'

Ryanair boss blames 'lunatic' voters for the ongoing 'shambles' in Leinster House, writes Claire McCormack

STABLE GOVERNMENT: Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary with his Gold Cup-winning horse War Of Attrition at Gigginstown, Co Westmeath. Photo: Tony Gavin
STABLE GOVERNMENT: Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary with his Gold Cup-winning horse War Of Attrition at Gigginstown, Co Westmeath. Photo: Tony Gavin

Claire McCormack

A second election is "inevitable" as there is "no way" a minority government will get through the next 12 months, Michael O'Leary has claimed.

Speaking at the annual stock auction of his Gigginstown herd at his farm near Mullingar, Mr O'Leary shook his head when asked about the current political landscape.

"A minority government won't get through a Budget, let alone survive any of the normal crises. What happens in June if the UK votes to leave the European Union? Will we have a government at that stage or will we have a load of ministers who are single-issue, liberal half-wits, who you wouldn't send to run a sweet shop, never mind a government?" he said.

The billionaire businessman said the electorate is to blame for the ongoing saga in Leinster House.

"The electorate that voted for Independents were lunatics. We can't expect to have a stable government or a well-run economy if we think elections are some kind of popularity contest where we elect every 'single-issue' candidate.

"It's all very well to care about the local hospital and local barracks, but as voters we need to grow up and elect a government that can manage the country for a four- or five-year period," he said.

"I think what's going on is a shambles but it's not the fault of politicians, it's the electorate's fault and I include myself in that. We should take responsibility for it."

He stressed that Ireland should be "very worried" about Brexit.

"It will be very damaging for us and the UK and that's why Ryanair, as the UK's largest airline, is campaigning hard to persuade people to vote 'yes'," he said moments, before his pedigree Angus herd went under the hammer at his 1,000-acre estate.

Hundreds of farmers from all over the country attended the sale of his pedigree herd which included 20 bulls and 20 heifers. Retired race horses 'War of Attrition' and 'Last Instalment' were available for selfies. His recent Irish and English Grand National and Gold Cup trophies were on display as well.

Despite the allure of a peaceful country life, in the company of good neighbours and dedicated farm management team, the 55-year-old said retirement is not on the agenda.

"It makes me want to work harder and longer. Something has to pay to keep this place going and that's the airline. The horses will lose money, the cattle break even, so I've got to work for a living to pay for the children and the farming hobby," he said.

However, after winning two Grand Nationals and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the space of a month, Mr O'Leary says his equestrian escapades are "as good as it ever gets".

"It's probably time to stop now; it's all downhill from here," he chuckled.

Sunday Independent

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