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'A load of rubbish': Michael O'Leary isn't a fan of the water protests

The Ryanair CEO also said that he felt the government has done a ‘spectacularly good job’ for aviation and tourism.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

MICHAEL O’LEARY HAS given his opinion on the opposition to Irish Water.

Asked if he supported the upcoming water protests near his residence in Gigginstown, West Meath, O’Leary said that he felt they were, “a load of rubbish”.

Speaking to Damien O’Reilly on RTÉ’s Countrywide programme, the Ryanair CEO went on to say that “down the country” people have been paying into water schemes for years, mentioning his local area as a specific example.

“I don’t think it’s a very broadly-based campaign. I think people accept they have to pay for water. This idea that water is somehow free or that you’re entitled to free water is nonsense,” he said.

Go and talk to them in deserts in Africa and see what they think.

O’Leary has previously labelled Irish Water “a complete mess”.

Government praise

On the programme, which shall be broadcast on RTÉ tomorrow morning, the Ryanair CEO also had praise for the actions of the government in relation to policy on aviation and tourism.

In this area he said the government had done a “spectacularly good job”, reserving particular praise for Michael Noonan lifting the travel tax.

This move was taken as part of Budget 2014 and saw taxation of €3 per passenger being lifted in April last year.

O’Leary claimed that the move had allowed Ryanair to deliver an additional 1.6 million passengers to Ireland over a 12-month period.

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Aer Lingus

The CEO also expressed feelings that discussion over the Irish government selling Aer Lingus was largely redundant.

“The days of whether we should sell Aer Lingus or not sell Aer Lingus – that ended in 2007 when we sold 75% of Aer Lingus. This idea that we should hold onto the remaining 25% because Aer Lingus is some kind of national brand or jewel, frankly, is long outdated,” he said.

Read: Good news for airlines: Air Travel Tax to be scrapped next year

Also: No wonder Michael O’Leary is smiling…

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