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Put 10pc tax on dole and sell off ESB -- O'Leary

I'D SELL off the ESB, Aer Lingus and RTE to turn the economy around, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary told the Herald today.

The airline chief would also bring everyone into the tax net -- including those on the dole, who he would tax at 10pc.

Mr O'Leary also says the number of TDs should be slashed to 58, the Senate abolished and the "public sector pension scams" brought to an end.

However, he admits he doesn't get everything right, being in negative equity on his Raglan Road, Dublin 4 home he bought at "the top of the bloody cycle".

The outspoken chief executive dismissed Aer Lingus as an "irrelevancy" and described "public sector broadcasting" as "horse sh**"

"In a European context there are four airlines that matter, Lufthansa, Air France, BA/Iberia and Ryanair," he tells the Herald in an exclusive interview.

Ireland has "huge tourism potential" but it is not being exploited, he added.

"Everything has come down but access capacity has been destroyed by the Department of Transport, the DAA and the travel tax," he said.

Mr O'Leary considers much of the public sector to be "rotten to the core".

He said the country's former top civil servant Dermot McCarthy should have been sacked for "10 years of abject failure" instead of receiving a €600,000 retirement payment.

In an echo of Fine Gael's pre-election five-point plan, Mr O'Leary outlined his own remedies for the ailing Irish economy.

He stormed: "I would slash public spending by €20bn in three years.

"There are 1,000 quangos that cost about €6bn a year, I would close every single one of them next Tuesday, starting with FAS, which costs €1bn a year.

"Unemployment would rise, but most of them are useless anyway, but they all would have to get jobs somewhere else."