Thursday 20 June 2019

David Robbins: O'Leary has me in his sights after his potshot towards stay-at-home dads

Prophet motive: Michael O'Leary
Prophet motive: Michael O'Leary

David Robbins

Maybe I have been wrong about Michael O'Leary all along. Perhaps he is the wise and thoughtful leader we have been looking for.

Maybe he's right about so many things. Take Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. Why should we board and exit our planes from a beautiful building, one that lifts the spirit and makes a bold statement about our country?

Perhaps it would be better, as Mr O'Leary suggested, to queue in a field under an awning. A bit of fresh air never did anyone any harm. And why shouldn't people who hold a different view to Mr O'Leary "be taken out and shot", as he himself has suggested?

Environmentalists? "The best thing you can do with them is shoot them," he says. Travel agents? "Take the f**kers out and shoot them," is his solution.

The logistics of these mass executions are best left to public administrators, but the concepts themselves have a clarity and simplicity that all great ideas should aspire to.

These remarks, by the way, should be taken in the light of Mr O'Leary's statement last week to the Times in London that he "never tried intentionally to be rude".

Some people might wonder what he might come out with – and who else might be shot – if he was trying to be rude. But those people are just begrudgers, or travel agents, or environmentalists.

And while we're at it, why shouldn't female Ryanair employees dress in thongs and bikinis for the airline's calendar? Sexist? Not at all. It's for charity, points out Mr O'Leary. If that sounds like the end justifying the means, well then you're probably an environmentalist, or a travel agent. In either case, make a will and prepare to be taken out and shot. And perhaps Mr O'Leary is right – I should never have taken that redundancy deal to stay at home with my infant daughter.

I didn't know at the time that this would drive Mr O'Leary "mad" and I'm sorry.

He is no doubt right about men bonding with their kids when they're small. "It's rubbish," he says. Mr O'Leary is also probably also bang on the money when he says that any man who takes an active role in caring for his infant children is "feigning interest".

Perhaps, all those times when I bathed, fed, changed and cuddled my two-year-old girl, I was merely pretending to relate to her. Those times walking around the house with her in the crook of my arm when she had colic, those days spent on outings with her, those evenings spent singing and reading to her, all these were, I see now, just a sham.

I should have followed Mr O'Leary's advice and ignored her until she was "walking, talking, following football", which, in Mr O'Leary's opinion, is the best time for men to bond with their children.

What was I thinking, sitting there with my baby girl fast asleep on my chest, our breathing and heartbeats in perfect harmony, when I could have been out shooting travel agents, or calling environmentalists the "lying w**kers they are"?

If I had known that Mr O'Leary was against men attending the birth of their children, I would never have acceded to my wife's request that I be there.

When the midwife, knowing the baby was about to arrive, asked me to place my hands just so, and my daughter came into the world into her father's arms, I see now that my joy was a hollow pretence.

And, even if I had not decided to leave my job and spend time with my little girl, I was in big trouble. I was probably one of the many "lazy bastards" that all companies employ. Michael O'Leary is right again: I would have needed a good "kick up the backside".

I might even have been tempted to ask a question during his public Q&A session on Twitter, and would have deserved the same response as the Ryanair employee who was told to "get back to work you slacker or you're fired".

Mr O'Leary has been right about so many things in my life. "People either see me as Jesus, Superman or an odious little shit. I think I'm Jesus. A prophet in his own time," he says.

Can there be now be any doubt about into which of these three categories he falls? @dpmrobbins

Irish Independent

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