Skip to content

Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Image: PA Images

Ryanair staff raise concerns over handling of Covid-19 outbreak at Dublin HQ

A Ryanair spokesperson said the airline does not comment “on rumour or speculation”.
Feb 7th 2021, 11:17 AM 82,087 72

STAFF AT RYANAIR who were tested for Covid-19 have raised concerns over the manner in which an outbreak of the virus at the airline’s headquarters was handled.

Internal communications obtained by the PA news agency informed staff of an outbreak in the office at Airside Business Park in Swords, North Dublin on 9 December.

The HSE intervened and initiated mass testing at the office.

At least one staff member who was being tested was instructed by a line manager to tell the HSE they had no close contacts in the office in the event of a positive result.

They were advised that names of individuals could not be provided to the HSE “due to GDPR purposes”.

The employee was told to advise the HSE they had no close contacts in the office based on “all procedures being followed”.

If the HSE persisted with questions, the employee was directed to refer them to a senior member of staff at the airline.

The revelations come just a week after Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary accused public health chiefs in Ireland of causing “mass hysteria”.

Prior to the HSE’s involvement, the company was operating its own testing regime for staff.

One employee said they believed the HSE became involved after noticing a high number of employees presenting with symptoms.

The PA news agency has been told that a number of staff in the operations room at Ryanair HQ were particularly concerned about safety procedures in place in the building.

A staff member said: “That room in particular, it’s like a meeting room. It’s big, but there’s no ventilation, the doors are always closed.

“Even the winter before Covid, one person in the room got sick and we all got sick. The ventilation in the room is shocking.”

They said colleagues had been “freaked out” by the number of positive cases.

A staff memo sent in mid-December advised staff that “the majority of people in the Ops area” had tested negative.

But sources have questioned the communication with workers in the building, based on the length of time testing continued.

Staff were first notified of an outbreak on 9 December, internal communications obtained by the PA News Agency show.

It said the outbreak had been confined to a single room and that all HSE advice was followed, including a deep clean of the office, and testing of staff was arranged for the following day.

Staff were informed of a “small number” of additional cases in a memo sent on December 16.

On 28 January, a memo informed staff there had been no positive case for over a week.

The revelations come just a week after Ryanair boss Micheal O’Leary launched an attack public health chiefs, accusing them of causing “mass hysteria” over the coronavirus.

In an interview with RTÉ last Monday, O’Leary insisted his airline would bounce back by June, encouraging people to resume international travel.

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

He said: “Nphet and the chief medical officer, if he was doing his job properly, should be holding press conferences announcing the number of people who have been vaccinated.

“Not issuing scare stories about numbers of people in hospitals.”

He added: “We need to get away from the mass hysteria created by Nphet.”

A Ryanair spokesperson said the airline does not comment “on rumour or speculation”.

They added: “Ryanair operates an essential service, and has at all times complied with HSE Health and Safety guidelines in the workplace.”

A spokesperson for the HSE said: “The HSE does not comment on individual cases or outbreaks as to do so would breach our duty of confidentiality to the individuals or businesses concerned.”

However, they said where there are cases identified at a workplace, the local public health team “discuss this with the case, asks them about their contacts and also discuss the issue with the facility.”

The spokesperson added: “Initially, if there are only one or two cases, only the cases and their contacts are tested and advised to stay off work and to isolate.

“However, depending on the local circumstances –environment, work practices, travel arrangements, accommodation and social practices – different approaches will be taken on whether to test all staff, some staff considered at slightly higher risk, none immediately, or to wait for the first set of contact results.

“Likewise, whether to close or keep open the facility will be dependent on all the above factors. This approach is used in a wide range of settings.”'s coronavirus newsletter cuts through the misinformation and noise with the clear facts you need to make informed choices. Sign up here

Send a tip to the author

Press Association


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

    cancel reply
    Back to top