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Eamon Ryan to 'set the record straight' in meeting with Michael O'Leary tomorrow

The Transport Minister has said comments from O’Leary directly and his company’s social media posts in recent weeks had been “personally abusive”.

TRANSPORT MINISTER EAMON Ryan has said that he will “set the record straight” during a meeting with Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary tomorrow.

The meeting comes a week after the airline executive launched a personal broadside against him in a row over the 32 million annual passenger cap at Dublin Airport. 

O’Leary pulled faces and posed for photos beside cardboard cut-outs of the faces of Ryan and Tourism Minister Catherine Martin in “dunce” hats at a press conference. He also held up a picture of Dublin Airport with a sign saying “Sorry, we’re closed”.  

During the press conference, the Ryanair boss heaped criticism on the transport who he said are failing to deliver growth in Ireland’s aviation industry.

Ryan has said comments from O’Leary directly and his company’s social media posts in recent weeks had been “personally abusive”.

Asked about the upcoming meeting, the Green Party leader said he would use it to “set the record straight on a couple of things that he may be misguided”.

He said: “I’m interested in the details of policy here discussing with Ryanair, I don’t think there’ll be any problem on a personal level.”

He wanted to inform Ryanair about his personal role in efforts to tackle terminal overcrowding and drone intrusion at the airport.

Asked if he would be raising the criticism levelled at him during the meeting, Ryan said: “I mentioned that, I think, as a matter of fact, like if you look at social media and so on – I don’t think that would be disputed.

“To be honest, that doesn’t really bother me one way or the other.”

Ryan said he would be discussing how to make sure Dublin Airport operated well and how to develop an aviation sector that “serves our people”.

Speaking after an event about Dublin city’s climate ambitions, Ryan added: “I’m looking to discuss with him how we decarbonise aviation.

“Like we can’t have certain sectors and Dubliners all during our bit and one sector not being part of it.”

But he added that Ryanair was “quite advanced” on working with researchers at Trinity College on measuring and advancing sustainable aviation fuels.

He said: “As Transport and as Climate and Energy Minister, what I’m looking to do and to discuss with Michael O’Leary and his team is: ‘What do we do next? What do we do further? How do we make aviation sustainable in this big change we need to make?’”

On the passenger cap, Ryan said he could not “throw out the planning system”.

“The independence and the strength of our planning system is really important and that’s one of the things I’ve been looking to talk to Michael about,” he said.

In a statement release earlier today, O’Leary said Ryanair was looking forward to the meeting with Ryan tomorrow.

“We look forward to explaining Ryanair’s plan to grow Irish traffic by 50% over the next six years to 2030; our plan to reach net zero by 2050; and asking Minister Ryan when he plans to take action to scrap Dublin’s absurd traffic cap by intervening as he did in the Shannon LNG planning process in 2022,” he said.

“And (asking) when he will start using Irish passenger (Emissions Trading System) revenues of over 200 million euro per annum to incentivise Ireland’s supply of sustainable aviation fuels rather than subsidising the Department of Education school bus budget.

“We look forward to hearing Minister Ryan’s plans to deliver growth under his National Aviation Policy, when sadly for four years he doesn’t appear to have any growth plans.”

With reporting from Press Association

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