Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has never been one to shy away from making controversial remarks – his latest being a suggestion that cyclists should be taken out and shot.
The businessman made his comments in a keynote speech at the Creative Minds conference at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin this morning, reports Independent.ie.
At the event, organised by the US Embassy, he took aim at the city council’s ambitions to get more people cycling.
"That's all we need in Dublin is more blooming bicycles," he said. "In a country where it rains about 250 days a year, the way forward for Dublin is more bicycles.
“Let's just go back to walking altogether. Soon we'll be living in caves designed by Dublin City Council. Traffic won't work, there's nowhere to park the cars and yet this is a smarter way forward.
“We should take the cyclists out and shoot them."
O’Leary lives in County Westmeath, around 55 miles from Ryanair’s headquarters at Dublin Airport.
"We should create a city that works given that this is a low rise, broadly based city and I speak as one of the commuters who commutes on a daily basis from Mullingar,” he said.
“I can't do it by bicycle ... I want to drive and I expect Dublin City [Council] to come up with a smarter way for me to get around Dublin and be able to park my car somewhere in the middle of Dublin without it being dug up every six weeks so we can have some other faddy non sustainable public transport solution.
"I hate to pick on Dublin City Council, but shit they're here and they deserve a slapping," he added.
In September at the inaugural Cycle Planning Awards, Dublin beat off competition from the London Borough of Southwark, Greater Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester and Coventry to be named the local authority with the most cycle-friendly policies for the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan. The citation read:
The project was completed in 2013 and published in April 2014 and set the challenging task of developing a strategic cycle network for the Dublin City, Fingal, South Dublin, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and Wicklow areas, known as the Greater Dublin Area. This plan was aimed at increasing this further and taking cycling to Northern European levels of usage over the coming five to 10 years, ambitious but in the context of over 100 per cent growth over the last five to 10 years achievable.
The city ranked 15th in the 2015 Copenhagenize Index of the world's most bicycle-friendly cities, with the urban design company behind the ranking saying that "the city has been inspirational for the rest of the world in its efforts to increase cycling levels."
Last year, Ryanair was widely derided on social media when it trumpeted price reductions in extra charges for carrying sports equipment which for a bicycle actually increased the cost per flight from €50 to €60.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.