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 Dublinlive.ie.
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 Cyclist.ie, 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."
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plans to invest further in cycling infrastructure have been dealt a blow after funding for future projects was withdrawn by central government, with initiatives under way also frozen.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.