Michael O’Leary for President

This is an extract of an interview by Michael O’Leary on The Last Word with Matt Cooper on Monday. I love this man:

Presenter:

And finally Michael O’Leary, given that some people, clearly from the text messages coming in, don’t like you and don’t like your airline (a lot of people do, judging by the support you’re getting from other text messages) but given that Ryanair has been one of the most successful Irish companies of the last decade and possibly THE most successful internationally, has the Minister for Finance or the Taoiseach lifted the phone to you or had a chat with you in the last month or two as to what ideas you might have as to how to get this country out of this economic mess?

Michael O’Leary, the Chief Executive of Ryanair:

No, but in fairness I don’t necessarily expect them to be lifting the phone and asking me. The only kind of message I’d give them would be about cutting cost and getting rid of waste and the civil servants, many of them utterly useless and paid, would be running around in there cutting off the phone lines I think if the Taoiseach or the Minister of Finance were to call me. Just give me a week in there and I’d have half the civil service out on the street where they deserve to be.

Presenter:

Why would half the civil service deserve to be out on the street? Aren’t they providing a variety of useful services?

Michael O’Leary, the Chief Executive of Ryanair:

No. FAS, which costs €1billion, employs lots of civil servants who do nothing. You can go through the civil service and you’ll find thousands of people ungainfully employed and over-paid, doing nothing. The health service already admitted it has lots of people sitting around doing nothing when they amalgamated the regional serviced into on national service. Decentralisation, some of which has gone ahead, we had this crazy situation that we’re still going to employ some civil servants who refused to move to where the work is. I mean, in the private sector, if you refuse to move where the job is, you get sacked and you go find another job. But that’s a different issue. Can we cut €6billion worth of waste out of the government spending? No problem. You could do it in a week, if you had the will for it. It doesn’t take away the issue tomorrow …

Presenter:

But what would you do with all the people who lose their jobs if you were to take that approach.

Michael O’Leary, the Chief Executive of Ryanair:

You encourage them, Matt, to take up other jobs. That’s the way the real world works.

Presenter:

But what if there’s no other jobs available for them to take up?

Michael O’Leary, the Chief Executive of Ryanair:

Ah, there’s always more jobs.

Presenter:

Where?

Michael O’Leary, the Chief Executive of Ryanair:

Well, Ryanair is recruiting about 1,000 people a year. Aer Lingus looks like they’re going to be creating about 1,000 jobs in sub-contracting companies.

Presenter:

That’s hardly job creation that civil servants who you’d axe could go to. That’s the outsourcing of jobs from an existing company.

Michael O’Leary, the Chief Executive of Ryanair:

Not in the case of Ryanair. There’s lots of jobs out there. You know, why should we, as taxpayers, be funding off the civil servants sitting around on their hands doing nothing? It wouldn’t happen in the private sector, so why should we stand around and tolerate it in the public sector?

Presenter:

So how many people would you get rid of in the public sector if you were standing up as Minister for Finance tomorrow?

Michael O’Leary, the Chief Executive of Ryanair:

Well (A) I’m not going to be the government Minster tomorrow, Matt…

Presenter:

Well, if you were, hypothetically.

Michael O’Leary, the Chief Executive of Ryanair:

Hypothetically, you’d do what every business does; the people who are making a valuable contribution will continue to be employed and promoted and paid, and the people who are not making a contribution will be not paid and let go.

Presenter:

I’ll put it out to listeners and see what they think about it. Michael O’Leary of Ryanair, thank you for joining us.

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