The exchange between Michael O’Leary and myself on “Woman’s Hour” yesterday has received some attention, including in the Times this morning. You can listen to the full interview with Michael O’Leary presented by Jane Garvey by clicking the media player below:
Interestingly O’Leary felt unable to leave it there and produced this press release. This is what I sent out a my response:
Ryanair attacks Labour MEP following radio debate
MEP defends her position following ‘cheap’ and ‘personal’ dig by O’Leary
London MEP Mary Honeyball has responded to a press release issued todayby Ryanair accusing her of “false claims” against his airline and calling her “dreary”.
Ms Honeyball said: ‘Rather than explaining its actions, Ryanair has responded to me by using cheap publicity slogans, which are potentially slanderous. If O’Leary and his team cannot think of anything useful to say, then perhaps they shouldn’t say anything at all’.
Appearing alongside Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour yesterday Honeyball maintained that the Ryanair’s 2010 calendar, which features scantily clad young women in sexually provocative poses, is demeaning.
The women -all of whom are Ryanair employees – were, according to O’Leary, willing volunteers. However, O’Leary does not allow trade union representation at Ryanair, leading Mary Honeyball to wonder whether some of the young women faced pressure to strip off for the calendar. With no trade union to defend them, Mary questioned whether the young women could be especially prone to such coercion.
Replying to O’Leary’s jibe that she was just out to get “cheap publicity” Ms Honeyball said: ‘As an elected representative I have the right to draw people’s attention to matters like this. Since I currently sit on the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in the European Parliament, it is my responsibility to speak out about issues important to women.’
When Mr. O’Leary pointed out that the proceeds from the calendar go to charity, Mary Honeyball said there were much better ways of raising money for good causes which did not involve demeaning images of women.’
And finally….I would like to thank Iain Dale for his congratulations on the work I do on human trafficking. About the Ryanair calendar Iain, I’d be grateful if you listened to this “Woman’s Hour” piece. I made the same points that you considered flimsy arguments on LBC and O’Leary conspicuously failed to answer them. Maybe they weren’t so flimsy after all?