Wednesday 19 December 2018

Iron Mike fires last round at war-weary Taoiseach

Ryanair's Michael O'Leary used a press conference about his airline's High Court appeal against the
aviation regulator to launch a foul-mouthed tirade against Bertie Ahern's record as Taoiseach
Ryanair's Michael O'Leary used a press conference about his airline's High Court appeal against the aviation regulator to launch a foul-mouthed tirade against Bertie Ahern's record as Taoiseach

Ciaran Byrne

Another day, another whinge. Rich in fury and expletive, Michael O'Leary said a no-frills goodbye to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern yesterday.

Predictably, the Ryanair boss denigrated Mr Ahern and his legacy with foul language and schoolboy taunts.

"Mad Mike" has become his nickname in some quarters and yesterday Ryanair's top man did not disappoint.

He might be rich, married and training top horses, but for some reason Mike is bloody angry an awful lot of the time.

As usual for these "Michael O'Leary will speak" moments, the media gathered in a Dublin hotel and as usual Mike opened fire with his favourite weapon, the scattergun.

He might be the chief executive of one of Ireland's biggest firms but he was unable yesterday to rise above the puerile in his assessment of Mr Ahern's tenure. During a lengthy lecture on the failings of the aviation regulator he moved onto Mr Ahern's departure with the blunt opener: "We've had a clown as Taoiseach for the past 10 years."

With a gaggle of smirking flunkies looking on, Mad Mike said Ahern's record on the economy was "crap" and a lack of leadership was why the health service was in the "shit". Michael O'Leary long ago lost his ability to shock with his outbursts but it's obvious he still thinks it's cool as opposed to unedifying.

Legacy

On Mr Ahern's legacy after a decade in charge, Ryanair's furious leader blamed him for almost every possible governmental failing since 1997.

He said the economy was facing payback for Mr Ahern's years of "inefficiency, fudge, dither, buying off the public sector and...out of all the difficult problems".

In Mike's no-frills world, Bertie was to blame for absolutely everything bar this week's snow showers.

He continued: "The reason the health service is in shit is because we've had no leadership in this country for the last 10 years. The road transport is a mess, public transport is a mess, because everything that's been done by Bertie."

He clearly hadn't enjoyed the weekend radio tributes to Mr Ahern's handling of the economy and instead he wanted to talk abject failure.

"I was listening to all this crap at the weekend about the great job he has done for the economy. Bertie Ahern has been a disaster for the Irish economy for the last 10 years.....The next government is going to have to deal with some really harsh realities."

Oh dear. But what about fellow midlands man, Brian Cowen? Mad Mike from Mullingar, however, remained firm. He added: "Brian Cowen couldn't be any worse, I think he'll be significantly better than Bertie Ahern, but that's not setting the bar very high."

A spokesman for the Taoiseach last night felt that the Ryanair' chief's unparliamentary remarks were most definitely: "unworthy of comment." Quite.

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