Michael O’Leary: Brexit couldn’t organise piss-up

Ryanair boss Micheal O’Leary has attacked Tory MP Boris Johnson and other leaders of the Brexit campaign, saying they couldn’t “organise a piss-up in a brewery”.

Speaking in Trinity College Dublin, yesterday, Mr O’Leary said he was “very worried” that the British public would use the upcoming referendum to punish the Conservative government.

Mr O’Leary was in Trinity to endorse Senator Sean Barrett’s re-election campaign to the Upper House. Dr Barrett is a transport economist and supporter of Ryanair.

Mr O’Leary said there was a very real chance the vote could be lost.

“I think you have to be very worried,” he said. “Ultimately, the majority of the British people want to stay in Europe.

“But, given the timing of the election, the real worry is that it will become a mid-term referendum on a government, where the economy is struggling. In those circumstances, there is a real chance it could be lost.”

Michael O’Leary: Brexit couldn’t organise piss-up

Mr O’Leary, a long standing critic of Brussels, said the best way to reform the EU was from within. However, he reserved his most stinging criticism for the Leave campaign.

“If you look at the ragamuffins on the Leave side, most of them couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery,” he said. “Boris makes for great entertainment, but you wouldn’t send him down to run your local sweet shop. Then you have Theresa Villiers, and a few other lightweights. You wouldn’t follow them anywhere.”

Mr O’Leary said that if the referendum was close, the ‘yes’ vote would win, because the ‘yes’ vote would go out to vote.

He also called on the Irish lobby to play a part in ensuring Britain stayed in the EU.

“I wouldn’t underestimate the Irish lobby in the UK. Look at the thousands of first-generation Irish kids who can vote, so it is a large body,” he said.

“People say to me ‘look here, what do you know, you’re Irish’. I have had three or four goes with the press, who have asked me what is it to me. I am a big taxpayer, big employer in the UK, so we are going to lobby, because it is the right thing to do.”

Asked about the politcal impasse here, Mr O’Leary said a minority government could not work and a second election was likely.

“We can’t run a country with 40 Independents all looking for a ministry for my local hospital or a minister for rural affairs,” he said. “I mean, there is already a minister for agriculture. I live in rural Ireland, but I don’t think rural Ireland deserves a ministry.

“We can’t keep electing every loonie who runs, thinking ‘sure that’ll be great craic and piss off everyone’. Running the country is far more serious.”

“I think there is going to be another election, if not by Christmas then within 12 months, certainly.

“There is no prospect of a minority government surviving, unless Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil come together. I think that is what should happen, then we are heading back for another election.

“That wouldn’t be a bad thing. Firstly, everyone would wise up and stop electing every loony. They should vote for parties, even those I disagree with. The Shinners are economic loonatics, but if the country votes for them and destroys the country, then so be it.”

Endorsing Dr Barrett, Mr O’Leary said : “He is not a narrow-minded, single-issue politician”.


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