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ryanair calendar cull is bad news for Europe's sweatier, leerier flyers

Two years ago then Ryanair head of communications, Stephen McNamara, announced his company's annual charity drive.

"Ryanair's gorgeous cabin crew are pleased once again to strip off for charity," he said, before going on to describe the as "red-hot".

As fund-raising enterprises go, Ryanair's contribution was perhaps the tackiest, with its goals overshadowed by the neanderthal ethos behind it.

One need only look at a few current endeavours to see that large-scale fund-raising and awareness can be achieved without demeaning anyone.

In Ireland, we've just finished "Blue September", in aid of men's cancer, October sees events highlighting breast cancer awareness, and we will soon head into Movember, a charity initiative aimed at, well, men's cancer again...


Australia, meanwhile, will mark October in a unique manner. Since 2008, the year that Michael O'Leary first started asking his employees to strip off to raise money, this month has seen an initiative called "Ocsober", which encourages Australians to give up alcohol for an entire month, and be sponsored for their efforts.

Not only that, the money raised - about €1million - goes towards educating children about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.

With obesity in Ireland alone costing the state over €1 billion in healthcare each year, never mind the incalculable social and economic damage caused by alcohol and drug abuse, it's a more than worthy investment.

All of which ties in nicely with the news that Ryanair, in a move designed to reinforce its new, responsible image, has decided not to publish its annual cabin crew calendar.

Commenting wistfully on the heart-wrenching decision, O'Leary said: "I think it was a great idea by the cabin crew. It genuinely did raise huge amounts of money for charity and we will struggle to replace it with something as good or as successful."

This comment reveals two points. Firstly, the calendar was entirely the idea of the female cabin crew themselves, and secondly the money that it raised will be hard to find again.

And who are we not to believe that the calendar was not driven by the testosterone-fuelled board of Ryanair, rather by young ladies themselves?

Let's be honest, doesn't every girl dream of revealing how she has successfully carved out a career for herself by stripping down to her smalls, hosing herself down with a shower-head, and allowing herself to be filmed getting undressed in a behind-the-scenes video?


After all, why would the company's staff ask for Ryanair to give up approximately a hour's worth of "ancillary services" revenue - which equates exactly to the €100k that the charity raised each year - when they can demean themselves instead for the titillation of sweaty, leery men throughout Europe?

If Ryanair are seriously "in the process of finalising our charity options for 2015", and are looking to get behind something that is "good and successful," here's a novel idea: dip into petty cash, take out €100k, and get behind an idea like Ocsober.