The Interview with Michael O’Leary

Labour Party

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?

8 thoughts on “The Interview with Michael O’Leary

  1. Just because there is no TU representation in Ryanair, does not mean the women were forced to do anything. A lot of companies dont have trade unions, including the one I work for. We are not ramdomly forced to do thinks we do not want to.

    Why do Labour MPs feel they have to interfere with peoples lives to the point of taking offence on their behalf?
    These women volunteered because they wanted to. They chose to do something fun for charity and you are trying to take that choice away from them.
    If people dont want to pose for the calenday, they wont. If people dont want to buy the calendar, they won’t.

    Thats freedom. We don not need you people nannying us and making our choices for us.

  2. So are you against the WI’s nude calender then? The one made famous by the film “Calender Girls”.

    If not then you are a hypocrite. Are you not against ti because women made it themselves whilst the Ryan Air one was made by men?

    If you are against the WI calender then you have just shown yourself to be more interested in being an extreme feminist and not a good politician who cares about ALL members of their electorate no matter what their sex.

    Either way you lose because you cannot be consistent when everything is based on your biased opinions.

    You state that Michael never answered your questions. Did you actually listen to his answers. He seems to answer them fully. I suspect you don’t acknowledge that your questions were answered because you didn’t get the answered you wanted to hear. Not a good trait for a politician.

    Oh, and you just shot yourself in the foot by using a recording where someone is laughing at you. Have you actually listened to the recording yourself?

  3. Mary Honeyball great to listen to you, o;leary did not reply to the points you said..Recruitment scamming airline is not intersted in charity,ryanair do this
    calendar or publicity and showing they give to charity,ryanair do nothing or free act…They treat their staff as numbers..Management are bully boys and o;leary is only the mouth of ryanair,,a david bonderman TPG capital is the big boss of ryanair,unions have no place in ryanair and they will terminate you i they can for this…Termination of young students or profit,is the ryanair way…Thank you Mary.

  4. Bucko,you do not know how ryanair work.They treat a lot of their cabin crew and pilots so bad.Do not be fooled,Mary put o’leary on the spot and he did not answer her….There is no freedom inside ryanair and how do you know it was their choice to do it ? Mary seems to know how ryanair operate…Great to see yet again o’leary not answer ,what is asked directly to him..welldone Mary…Thanks

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