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Ryanair's Michael O'Leary: 'Humility a great trait, it took me 25 years to learn it'

Irish companies being big in Ireland is not enough, and the internationalisation of small Irish businesses will be the "the real engine for growth" in Ireland, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said today.

Mr O'Leary told the CEO Forum conference in Dublin Castle that Irish companies should try to take on the world "because we can".

"We've got to be big in Europe, and then when you're big in Europe let's get big in the world...we've got to keep growing by delivering something real and something valuable to people all over the world."

Mr O'Leary called humility a "wonderful trait" after saying it took him 25 years to learn it.

Referring to the airline's "Always Getting Better" campaign, the airline chief said he'd have been nicer to customers a long time ago if he'd known it would grow the business.

He said Ryanair expects to carry around 150m passengers by 2024. The airline carried 82 million passengers in its last financial year.

"We're the biggest international airline in the world, it's not Pan Am, it's not British Airways...it's a bunch of bloody Paddies based out in Swords."

Online Editors