Ireland’s Ryanair, one of Europe’s largest airlines, has publicly “fact-checked” the country’s ruling Green Party amid a growing public feud between the two organisations.
The Dublin-based carrier has repeatedly called for the Green’s leader Eamon Ryan to resign as Ireland’s Minister for Transport, with the group’s firebrand CEO Michael O’Leary stating the party head’s position was “untenable” regarding his alleged failings in the role.
Ryanair has also repeatedly deployed an image of Ryan seemingly dozing in the country’s Parliament in support of its campaign, using it as “proof” that the politician is “asleep at the wheel”.
Time to wake up @EamonRyan
Forever asleep at the wheel… 😴
2022 – Asleep during security queues crisis
2023 – Asleep when drones closed Dublin Airport on 6 separate occasions
Now – Asleep once again when Dublin Airport capacity capped
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) February 6, 2024
Such attacks have now resulted in retaliations from the Green Party, with the group taking to X on February 7 to accuse the airline of harming the environment.
“Time to wake up Ryanair, there’s a climate emergency going on,” the party wrote, posting a graph claiming that the company was now the tenth-largest carbon emitter in Europe.
That provoked an angry response from the airline, which wrote a “Ryanair fact check”, claiming it had been rated one of the “most sustainable” airlines in the European Union.
It added the group was now on track to achieve “net-zero carbon emissions by 2050”.
No decisions on connectivity. Abdicates responsibility to @Fingalcoco.
Ryanair fact check:
– awarded industry-leading A- rating (yesterday) on climate… https://t.co/88PNuq72cQ
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) February 7, 2024
“Very much awake, lads,” the company wrote in the same post, accusing Ryan of “pawning off” important government decision-making on to a local county council in North Dublin.
“The [Green Party] have an incompetent Minister for Transport in Eamon Ryan consistently failing the island of Ireland,” the airline said.
Highlights from today’s @Fingalcoco meeting…
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) February 7, 2024
While unusual for major corporations, the front-facing spat with a senior government official is largely par for the course for Ryanair. The airline has frequently taken an abrasive approach to dealing with perceived adversaries in governmental and industry spheres.
O’Leary has on several occasions been at the centre of Ryanair’s high-profile PR strategy, with the CEO appearing outside the European Commission headquarters in Berlaymont last year in the hope of handing over a petition to EC president Ursula von der Leyen.
He ended up being harassed by “green” protesters at the event, with one demonstrator shoving a cream cake in the business leader’s face.
O’Leary turned the incident into a joke and the airline has since used it as a way to further boost its EU lobbying efforts.
Ryanair also seemingly got the last laugh against Eurocrats, recently winning a court case against the EC’s decision to green-light the use of State aid to boost rival airlines.
The EU General Court agreed with Ryanair that €3.4 in Covid-19 State aid granted by the Netherlands to national carrier Air France-KLM was illegal, with the Dutch Government then ordered to recover the donated funds.
A spokesman for the company called the ruling a “triumph for fair competition and consumers across the EU”.
“The Commission’s spineless approach to State aid since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis allowed Member States to write open-ended cheques to their inefficient zombie flag-carriers in the name of faded national prestige,” a statement from the company read.
“Today’s judgment underlines the need for the European Commission to immediately act to recover these illegal State aid packages and order remedies to restore at least some of the damage done to competition.”
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) September 7, 2023