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Ryanair boss accused of inciting hatred against "bloody cyclists”

Michael O’Leary claims Dublin City Council engaged in “nonsensical pandering” to people on bikes

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has once again taken aim at Dublin City Council’s efforts to get more people on two wheels, accusing it of “nonsensical pandering to bloody cyclists."

His comments, made at a fundraising breakfast for Fine Gael, the leading party in Ireland’s governing coalition, have led to accusations of “incitement to hatred” against cyclists, reports

The airline boss said the local authority had “destroyed” the city centre of the Irish capital by favouring cycle-friendly policies.

But Dr Mike McKillen, chair of national cycling advocacy network, accused O’Leary of encouraging motorists to foster a hatred of people on bikes.

He said: "He's a disgrace. He's a loudmouth who loves to shoot off at everything. Why does he hate cyclists? What's the problem?

"We have legislation against incitement to hatred on a number of different grounds but not for the hatred of cyclists.

"Why does he have to express his hatred publicly, albeit at a private meeting of Fine Gael.

"People who hate cyclists and express it publicly gives other drivers reasons to go at cyclists or go past them dangerously, too closely or too fast.

"It should be seen as incitement to hatred."

Four cabinet ministers, including finance minister Michael Noonan, were reported to have attended the fundraising event at Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel, with businesses paying 550 euro for a table of 10.

O’Leary also took aim at unions representing bus drivers and Gardai officers, as well as the European Union and national broadcaster RTE, which he described as a "rat-infested North Korean union shop."

"If they don't want to work let somebody else do their jobs, let's allow more competition, let's continue to roll out more competition, let's make Ireland even more competitive," he said.

In May this year, speaking at an event organised by the US Embassy, O’Leary said Dublin City Council “deserve a slapping” for policies that favour cycling, adding, “we should take the cyclists out and shoot them."

> Ryanair CEO – “Take cyclists out and shoot them”

As we reported last month, the council’s plans to invest further in cycling infrastructure have been dealt a blow after funding for future projects was withdrawn by central government, with initiatives under way also frozen.

> Funding pulled for cycling projects in Dublin, current projects suspended

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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