Troubador of travel O’Leary lights up RDS

ROLL up, ladies and gentlemen, roll up! Ringmaster Michael O’Leary here, willing and able to answer your questions about my incredible flying machines, the Ryanair cheapo flights.

It was a little like that in the RDS Simmonscourt yesterday when Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary held court at the Holiday World Show.

Akin to a rambunctious circus act, he held the audience in thrall for almost an hour, in between managing to suggest a tank assault on the Department of Transport, lambasting the “stupid” government “numpties”, and describing himself as “the world’s greatest gobshite”.

It couldn’t have been more vaudeville if he’d donned a top hat and tails and introduced a dancing bear on stage. Hang on — maybe he will. Here’s a Russian lady asking whether Ryanair will fly to Moscow.

“Life is too short,” he replied, having outlined what he sees as the ice age pace of change when it comes to decisions on new flights being decided in places like Dublin and Moscow.

Other topics tackled included the travel tax, which he said he wanted scrapped, along with the Dublin Airport Authority “monopoly”, an “evil empire” he likened to Fianna Fáil in that they are both “doomed to fail”.

He managed to dispense the last remaining copies of the Ryanair calendar, and got a bottle of red wine from a Portuguese man who said he didn’t like him. As O’Leary said himself when asked if he would consider entering politics: “Sometimes I don’t like myself either.”

He said 35 new routes would be launched this summer out of Ireland, including 14 from Dublin and nine from Cork, as well as routes from Kerry to Faro in Portugal and to Alicante in Spain.

That was serious business talk. What about more questions from the audience? Are your weighing scales different from airport weighing scales?

“No,” he said, although he admitted that check-in staff do receive a cut of any excess baggage charges “to ensure they implement the policy”.

The many exhibitor stalls ranging from Trabolgan and Donegal to Ethiopia, New York and Argentina, were seeing plenty of activity, but the corner of the hall with the livewire O’Leary had the most gawkers.

Picture: Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary and Travel Extra’s Tara Carey at the travel clinic during the Holiday World Show in the RDS. Picture: Gareth Chaney

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