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Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary Jonathan Brady via PA Images

The letter Michael O'Leary sent to Matt Cooper when he asked to write a book on Ryanair

O’Leary said he had “no interest in such books” and outlined he would not be available for an interview. / YouTube

A LETTER FROM Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has revealed that he declined to participate in an interview with Matt Cooper after he asked if he could write a book about the airline. 

In the letter sent to Cooper, dated 6 February 2017, pictured below, O’Leary said he had “no interest in such books” and outlined he would not be available for an interview.

“While I wish you well with your proposed book about Ryanair (a much more interesting subject than one about me), I’m afraid I have no interest in such books and therefore won’t be available for interview on it,” O’Leary wrote in the letter. 

I’m sure there is plenty of information available in the public domain, and from other interviewees, to allow you to tell the Ryanair story without my spin. 

O’Leary went on to claim that “the problem for most companies is once they start participating in books or biographies, that’s usually the end of their success”. 

“I hope to avoid any such pretentious errors for a little while longer,” he wrote. 

Image from iOS (3) (1) The letter sent by Michael O'Leary to Matt Cooper

O’Leary biography

On 25 September, Cooper published an unauthorised biography written about O’Leary, titled ‘Michael O’Leary – Turbulent Times for the Man Who Made Ryanair’. 

At a live interview in Eason’s O’Connell St store in Dublin yesterday, Cooper said that the focus of the book was initially more on Ryanair, but it changed later in 2017 to O’Leary. 

On the day of the book’s publication, O’Leary hit out at the book’s contents in a statement to the Irish Mirror, saying that two people in it were “subjected to false claims and innuendo”. 

He said he also disagreed with the book’s depiction of how Michael Cawley and Howard Millar left the company. 

However, Cooper’s publisher Penguin Random House Ireland said in a response that it stood over the book and its contents. 

“As publishers, we stand over Matt’s work in Michael O’Leary – Turbulent Times for the Man Who Made Ryanair and we are fully supportive of the book and its contents,” it said.

At the time, Cooper described the book as “an unauthorised biography”, saying it “is neither a PR job for Ryanair nor is it hostile to Ryanair or Michael O’Leary”.

At a live interview in Eason’s O’Connell St store in Dublin yesterday, Cooper told Sinéad O’Carroll of that he “[doesn't] really care” if Michael O’Leary likes the book or not. He said he was “disappointed if not surprised when he asked me not to write the book”.

Penguin Random House has described the book as “a fascinating insight into Ryanair’s recent fortunes” which “examines O’Leary’s personality, beliefs and obsessions and how these have moulded the business he runs”.

Watch our full interview with Matt Cooper below / YouTube

With reporting by Aoife Barry

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