December 3, 2008

Why O'Leary would be a fine catch for Aer Lingus

Posted in Ireland · 103 comments ·
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She must have got it from her mother, who in turn got it from her mother, otherwise, she’d never have delivered the immortal lines with such certainty. When my mother pronounced, as she did on numerous occasions, the favourite put-down of the Irish Mammy, “she’s far too good for him, you know”, it seemed she was saying something so self-evidently obvious that it couldn’t be challenged.

Such confidence could only have come from the secure knowledge that summing up potential suitors for their daughters was something Irish mammies were bred to do. It was in the genes; without any doubt, they were always right.

With the Irish Mammy setting such a high bar for their daughters, it’s no wonder that up to the 1960s, Ireland had the highest number of bachelors and spinsters in the western world. Even as the “Mammy Fatwa” on suitable boys wavered in the 1980s, the idea that “no one was good enough for our darlings” still endured in the background. The fatwa condemned me — as a teenage younger brother — to the prospect of unfeasibly straight older sisters’ boyfriends with a penchant for al fresco, Mammy lick-arsery.

Everybody knows that if you are a teenage boy with no older brothers the only thing an older sister’s boyfriend is good for is giving you fags, buying you drink and taping music for you.

Once they deliver the above, as far as you are concerned they are free to debase your sister however they please because the other rule of growing up is that lack of experience ensures younger brothers are never as protective as older ones.

So you can imagine my horror when the Mammy Fatwa funnelled a series of Leo Sawyer- loving “charismatics” in cords to our front door. Thankfully, the Mammy Fatwa couldn’t hold and as my sisters revolted, fags, booze and rare Japanese imports of B-sides, came cascading into my lap in return for my conspiratorial silence. Yesterday I heard a financial version of the Mammy Fatwa. These days, Aer Lingus is the over-protected daughter and Ryanair is the predatory gurrier forcing itself upon our national damsel. Such self-righteous tripe!

Listening to the comment from all quarters, I can hear the Mammy Fatwa once more. Aer Lingus, our loss-making little princess is “far to good for that O’Leary fella”. O’Leary is being painted as a man who knows nothing; a fella who will defile the virginal Aer Lingus and who is only after one thing.

Let’s get real, like him or not, Michael O’Leary is not only the most successful aviation businessmen in Ireland, he is the most successful operator in the world, bar none. Far from being the upstart, Ryanair is the peerless leader in European aviation, having being built from nothing on a model that has democratised air travel, opening it up to almost everyone.

Yes his style is confrontational, but don’t let that disguise the fact that the man behind Ryanair knows how to run airlines. The company employs nearly three times more than Aer Lingus, flies five times more passengers and is an airline that has always expanded in adversity. Its cost per passenger, at €55, is three times lower than Aer Lingus. And, more importantly, it has Boeing where it wants it, cutting a deal which sees Ryanair pay close to 40pc less for new planes than its rivals.

O’Leary is a maverick, but a straight, successful one. When he says he wants to double Aer Lingus’s size to 66 aircraft and will keep the slots at Heathrow, he will do it. He sees value where others don’t, opportunity where others see threats. When everyone else was cutting back, O’Leary was doing the opposite. When everyone else was hedging oil, O’Leary was doing the opposite and now, when everyone else is consolidating, O’Leary is trying to grow.

But in Ireland this is not enough. We disposed of the moral and, frankly, socially insecure Mammy Fatwa of the 1960s and 1970s but have replaced it with a new commercial Mammy Fatwa. One of the central planks of this is the man who revolutionised air travel in this country is not worthy of the company that did everything in its power to stop him, and failed.

The financial Mammy Fatwa only makes sense, in the face of a dwindling number of suitors, if it can answer the question, what or who is the alternative? So let’s ask the question, what is the Aer Lingus alternative? What other airline is going to secure Aer Lingus’ future and a national brand and a viable airline? In case you hadn’t noticed there is a massive contraction going on in the airline business and the European airline industry is now one huge consolidation play. Sure Aer Lingus has plenty of cash on its balance sheet, but what is its future as an independent airline?

Let us cut to the chase, we are now in a period of massive consolidation in every industry. This is a result of where we find ourselves in the business cycle.

All economic cycles have their proliferation phase and their consolidation phase. Put simply, booms are characterised by proliferations and busts by consolidations. The proliferation phase comes when money is cheap and credit available, economies are growing strongly, asset prices are inflated, all forecasts are exuberant and companies expand rapidly. This period sees new entrants into the business, chasing a customer who is now perceived to have near-mythical buying power. Then comes recession and proliferation gives way to consolidation. The consolidation phases see money become tight, banks share prices fall and they stop lending. This sends shares down, unemployment up, and companies that thought that they could weather the storm find themselves in difficulties. They cut back, as Aer Lingus did, with massive rationalising plans, and that makes them look more vulnerable.

In short, these companies get caught, they can neither expand dramatically nor contract sufficiently. Ultimately, mergers with bigger suitors become one of the few logical ways for these companies to grow. Aer Lingus finds itself in this position.

Despite all the talk of a national carrier and national pride, it pulled out of Shannon when Ryanair remained there. Indeed, Ryanair reduced prices further out of Shannon. Why wouldn’t O’Leary buy the asset, keep it as a mid-price range airline and expand its operations using the UK or the continent as new hubs, alongside Dublin?

There is no business case to answer. Ryanair has proved that it can win in the airline business and, more importantly, adapt to most situations. Of course there will be a monumental row with the unions and the Aer Lingus management. But we should put this down to the inevitable row between teenagers and the Mammy, when the Mammy Fatwa is invoked.

Ultimately the question is what is Aer Lingus’s alternative? In the consolidation phase, there can be movement on the price, but the eventual buyer is reasonably obvious. Is O’Leary that buyer? The answer is yes. Is he a suitable boy? Much as he himself would hate to be termed that, his business record makes him just that, a suitable boy!


  1. Ger

    What, a David McWilliams article that doesnt mention the disfunctional Irish banks? Am I seeing things?

    I agree. Ryanair will eventually end up owning Aer Lingus after much hand wringing and union BS. I dont fancy the thought much tho. I shudder to think what they will charge for a sandwich on a trans-atlantic flight.

    Great article tho. Particularly the bit about the older sisters boyfriends fags and pints supply chain. I was on the supply end of that little arrangement once or twice in my life and on the receiving end of the Mammy Fatwa as well.

    Ger

  2. John ALLEN

    Shannon is the birth right of Ryan Air and previously Aer Lingus ( Water Planes from USA ) …it makes sense that they now should consumate there and make Shannon a World Class location .
    The western corridor will welcome this initiative and new employment to be created in new rail stock and high-ways with Shannon as Centrum
    Cliff of Moher …Bunratty …..Irish Music….Adare Manor ….Dromoland Castle …Killarney ….etc…………………..and maybe the end of voyerism in Temple Bar

    • EatsShootsAndLeaves

      Use…..a…..comma…please!
      We…..get….your…..POINT!….
      We…..won’t….read…any….more…of…your….posts….ever……FULL….STOP!
      We’ve….had…enough….so….stop…doing…it….PERIOD!

      • b

        This wack job has covered the internet with her full stops and her crap about the West Coast.

        Shannon is a field in the middle of nowhere and I never knew until now there were peep shows in Temple Bar.

        Perhaps if you got out more often and smoked less wacky backy Dee you would maybe have a point.

        Here you are just trolling and offering nothing of interest or sense.

  3. If Fianna Fail had not spent the last 20 years mollycuddling their swathe of voters in north county Dublin to retain a Dail seat at the expense of the nations taxpayers- Michael O leary would have been the owner of Aer Lingus years ago.
    Great article David-but who is listening.Perhaps the two Brians, in their desperation for a little cash in their empty begging bowl, will do the right thing at last and give Brussels the nod and wink.!

  4. Tullaman

    I don’t know about O’Leary being an honest as you make out. He lead the charge on coming up with as many way as possible to make a 100eur flight to somewhere in the German boonies look like a 1eur flight to Frankfurt. I’ve also heard him give a few weasel-worded interviews.

    I would not trust him for a minute with the Heathrow slots. Maybe the pols retain some affection for “the national airline” but everyone else would flog it in a heartbeat if it keeps flights and keeps them cheap. The problem is that having a virtual monopoly on Ireland-London routes and losing further control of the Heathrow slots is not the way to achieve that result.

    The government failed to learn the lessons of giving shares in the ESB to the workers, the Westlink bridge and Eircom’s network which that it is fine to privatise the _running_ of infrastructure but never ever loose control of it.

  5. McGoo

    >Its cost per passenger, at €55, is three times lower than Aer Lingus.

    Oh come on, I expect this kind of mathematical illiteracy from our leaders, but not from you.

    I’m guessing that you mean that Aer Lingus cost per passenger is 3 x 55 =165.

    But what your statement actually means is RA = AL – (3xAL) , which works out as Aer Lingus have a cost per passenger of -27.5. Nonsense.

    As I understand it, Aer Lingus is a private company, that is *legally obliged* to maximise shareholder value. If that means selling out to Ryanair, then that what they must do. Surely our government wouldn’t have just pretended to privatise it?

  6. michael

    An accurate assessment and an entertaining article .I agree it is the way forward considering how the world aviation industry is evolving. However , in the case of AerLingus , considering the diverse range of stakeholders involved, the devil is in the detail and timing is where the money is . Surely , you are not suggesting that a currently solvent airline is immediately dumped at a knock down price and in so doing milk the taxpayer yet again ?
    Irish Fertiliser Industries is case in point – The replacement value of the land/plant – €1.7 billion – Sale price €10 million for stripping and exporting to China. Import substitution cost €500 ml per year.
    There is a lack of commercial awareness in our government and I am saddened by their lack of vision , competence and the cosy clubbing which gives them their strength.

  7. MK1

    Hi David,

    Ryanair is an interesting story, as is Michael O’Leary. One thing people cant deny, he does pay his taxes and more’s to the point he wants to. I admire his work ethic and what he has done with Ryanair. And he has given us a laugh along the way, he certainly calls a spade a spade.

    As for the play for Aer Lingus, I think the EC/EU is correct that it would reduce the choice of competition in Ireland. Perhaps they could allow the companies to merge if Ryanlingus ‘gave up’ 40% of their Irish slots/market to another airline or airlines. Aer Aran perhaps, maybe rebranded as Aer Eireann!

    > When everyone else was hedging oil

    My understanding is that Ryanair ‘lost’ (ie: spent more than others) a lot of money on their actions on oil. They hedged too late, so had to spend more when the spot price was high and then paid over the odds with their hedge at 120 or something when the spot price was lower. In the long-term, all hedging does is evenout the bumps. The only magic you can do with Oil or distillates (airline fuel) is to buy in bulk and get volume deals, and not pay on the marginal spot market.

    Its something I dont want to see, but the big test for Ryanair will come IF they have a crash. With so many planes in the sky every day and expanding, its only a matter of time perhaps. Their record is impeccable so far though. Fingers crossed it stays that way. Otherwise, Michael may become a full-time bull breeder. Speaking of bull-breeding, you;d think this would give him an insight into how Cowen ticks. ;-)

    MK1

  8. What amazes me is that there is a simple solution to monopolies or oligopolies in any industry and that is to provide some level or regulatory system. Okay if Ryan-Lingus controls 80% of the Dublin traffic, so like utilities such as Telecoms and the National Grid some independent system of oversight could easily ensure some levels of reality be maintained in what is in reality a utility.

    This country is knee deep in benchmarking so some degree of benchmarking system could easily ensure a fair mechanism without undue interference.

    With the level of government intervention in the other utilities even including the banking system this is a no brainer. Listening to Q&A suggesting that shareholders of Ryanair don’t want this is naive when you consider that Mr. O’Leary must endure an EGM to get this passed if and when the two Brians get their finger out and get on with resolving the growth in the economy instead of looking at ways to limit growth in the one global success story that Ireland has at the moment.

    When the money runs out in AerESOT who will they turn to then? Fine it is under valued but who is better equipped to maximize the value of AerLingus? Will the Government get a better deal? NO! Will ESOT want their cushy jobs and pensions messed with? NO!

    Will those shareholders who supported the last offer snub thios one this time? Better to take the cash if they need it and buy up the shares of RyanAir before the recession is over and reap the benefits of a leaner, meaner Irish growth story that continues to accelerate and build on what we have and not what we would like to have.

    • Garry

      @Gerry Brandon….We need to be very careful about regulation in this country, the theory is way different to the reality

      What has ComReg achieved? In the case of ComReg, the only innovation in that sector… mobile broadband has came about through technology advances, and Eircom has still managed to jack up line rental…

      We has the Financial Regulator achieved? apart from spending money on ads. Every one of us is potentially 100k down because of that offices complete failure to regulate its industry…. Anyone been fired for sleeping on the job there…. No. Why not!

      There is an Irish aviation regulator which seems to spend their time talking with Dublin Airport over charges.. Michael O Leary and Mannion are perfectly capable of doing this for themselves. http://www.aviationreg.ie/. The real change in the industry, forcing airlines into having to display all costs up front on websites came from Europe.

      The theory sounds good, in practice regulators here are unaccountable quangos adding cost and no value. From what I can see they are retirement homes for party lackies by either direct appointments or else as directors. And protected by statute, ie. given god like powers; We pay for these people one way or the other, with Comreg through higher charges, or in cases where its self funded e.g. the private security regulator its an additional cost on very low paid people.

      What we need is better and cheaper regulation, not more… There is a temptation to create organizations here and hope/assume they will solve problems magically whereas when ends up happening is they add cost and complexity..

      Have a look at this, now tell me why 50% of these shouldn’t be shut down and the functions brought bank into departments where we dont need 250k CEO’s, boards of directors, HR people etc.. http://www.acesa.ie/members.aspx

      I’ll tell you why, look at the money trail…. jobs for the boys

  9. I couldn’t care less, but I dislike Ryanair’s product and won’t be using them. If they buy AerLingus I’ll be a BMI man. No objection to O’Leary, just a dislike of sharing a plane with stag parties. And possibly an irrational dislike of yellow.
    Basicly if I wanted to travel to the UK on a bus I’d have taken Slattery’s Abortion Express.

  10. The Eye

    It would be cheaper for Aer Lingus staff to lift up each plane and carry it to the destination.

  11. John ALLEN

    The Eye – thats how they transport the Curragh boat

  12. I find the negative things people say about Ryanair is more a reflection about their own inadequacies than Ryanair’s inadequacies.

  13. MK1

    Gerry, I agree with Garry. In theory, regulation should work, as long as the regulators are lean and mean and have teeth (legislatively). In practice, it doesnt work – a human failing. eg: is the ESB the most efficient electricity service in Europe? nope. And there are countless other examples. Garry is right, although I wouldnt have put it quite the same way, these regulators and the multitude of quango’s are stuffed with people who are there for a cushy number and hence the culture within them is all wrong. They are bureacratic and slow. And ineffective in many cases. We do need some of them though, and we just need to make them better.

    > And possibly an irrational dislike of yellow.

    :-) – they do have “bright” interiors

    > I’d have taken Slattery’s Abortion Express.

    oooh, thats a low one ….but prehaps partially true. I always wondered what their business model was ….

    MK1

  14. The Eye

    Ryan Hair…..the low frills hairline to be opened by Mary Harney courtesy of the government Jet.

  15. Philip

    Ryan Air is a dreadful service. Treat people like cattle. It’s margin building by gotcha’s. Customer service is a non-starter. They would ruin Ireland’s reputation further. I do not care what public data may be saying on their being on time etc. I think it is highly selective and wrong. Companies will always use an alternative to Ryanair if possible. They cause a lot of wasted time and grief.

    And I challenge the notion that they are good managers. This downturn has only started. They may find that passenger numbers may fall faster than they realise. Those left who need to fly will not risk higher costs (and believe me Ryan Air are very high cost when you measure the cost end to end) and impacts to their business or schedules.

    RyanAir are a morally reprehensible business who only believe in making money at any social cost

    • b

      Philip. Ryanair is one of the few airlines in the world run for its shareholders and not the managers. Aer Lingus is run for the benefit of its manager class and to hell with the rest of us.

      If the country was run like Ryanair, for the benefit of its shareholders (citizens) then we would be far better prepared for the coming depression.

      I think the Government + shareholders should take the money, run and not look back. What business does a government have running an airline or any other industry? Ryanair has proved its point. It is FIVE times larger than Aer Lingus and it started from a handicapped position in the same country in 1985. Aer Lingus has been running since 1936 and never managed what Ryanair has achieved. Dev dealt Ireland and Aer Lingus a near fatal blow when he forced them to sell the Lockheed Constellations they had to BOAC (British Airways) in the 1950s. His reasoning being “only posh people fly and we are not posh”.

      Sell it. Run away. Let O’Leary do what obvious to even the biggest moron will admit run an airline. The Aer Lingus story is old and it won’t survive the downturn with the prize eejits in management coupled with the concrete shoes also known as the unions. The choice is Aer Lingus under Ryanair or no Aer Lingus and Ireland being served by either KLM, Ryanair alone or British Airways bringing you to Heathrow to emigrate to Australia.

      We are up the creek. Time to sell the silverware and tell the greedy bearded brethern they are sinking the ship. Sell it.

  16. John ALLEN

    the eye – funny u say that ….my notaire asked me the other day in choppy english ….did she have any hairs? ( gid it )

  17. John Curran

    Dave I agree all the way.

    This is an opportunity for the government to start the inevitable showdown with the unions.

    Its time for sensible and logical decisions, like sanctioning this take over.

    JC.

  18. Mugsy

    Few comments:
    Trying to turn Michael O’Leary into a choir boy is a bit of a stretch. Ryanair delivers convenience and that is all. Everything else about their product/service offering is low-rent and aimed at traveling yobs. Ryanair gets planes 40% cheaper? Yes maybe because the seats are plastic and there are more of them. It’s no feat to get cheaper planes when your request bone-twisting, immovable seats. Lets also ponder on why they are the most hated airline in the UK and probably in a few other countries also. Do we really have to be compared to Irish mammies when we would rather not have Aer Lingus associated with Ryanair?

    I admire O’Leary’s tenacity and the rise of Ryanair has been impressive, but he is basically just a one-trick pony with a declining business model. Please consider that no airline with Ryanair’s cost-focus has ever survived long term because they burn out trying to find infinite ways to cut costs. Lets also note that they have had to drop multiple routes in the past few months because they couldn’t afford to keep them open. It is Ryanair who needs Aer Lingus to survive, not the other way around. Personally I would rather see Aer Lingus attempt a ‘Air France-KLM’ type partnership of near equals rather than seeing them going further down the cost-cutting road.

    • b

      Mugsy, You are talking through your arse. He may be a smarmy bollocks but Ryanair is one of the best run companies in the world in any industry.

      Ryanair is a carbon copy of Southwest Airlines. Southwest has made a profit since 1974. Ryanair makes money hand over fist and is FIVE TIMES THE SIZE of Aer Lingus. It may be a “big” airline in Ireland but in the grand scheme of things Aer Lingus is small beer and regional at best.

      If a route doesnt make money it is dropped and the resources allocated to where it does make money. That’s business, thats life. If its not working change it.

      Air Lingus is dead in the water if this depression takes hold. Their costs are too high and they are a pompus regional carrier with ideas above their station. Ryanair will weather the storm and the choice is a Ryanair controlled Aer Lingus or no Aer Lingus. We don’t have the luxury of any other choice. The beardies in the unions would rather see a dead Aer Lingus than a profitable Aer Lingus.

      Ryanair does one thing well and sticks to that. If you don’t like them take the ferry. Personal attacks on people that got off their arses and diid something are just small minded, petty and very Irish.

      How the hell can you call it a declining business model when it has been growing like wildfire for the past 10 years. You have ZERO facts to back up your prejudiced position and its just a personal attack based on which airline you think is posher.

      • I do take the ferry. I quite enjoy it. Ryanair is completely entitled to do what it does, I’m just not their target market, I am interested in having alternatives to their product. That’s business too.

    • Hugh

      @ Mugsy

      I don’t think you can call Ryanair / O’Leary a one trick pony with a declining business model. Last quarter for them showed increased passenger traffic, higher load factors, and less profit alright, but still heaps of profit. In the same period, Aer Lingus contracted, and lost money. As did Aer Arann – who are now entering the world of chartering to stay afloat. O’Learly is now looking at transatlantic flights and will surely look at Asia and other, similar territories. Why? Because he’s nailed the low cost aviation thing better than anybody else has. If he can do it in Europe, why not have a stab at every other territory in the world.

      As agressive as Ryanair looks, it has actually grown organically and steadily. Yes, they’ve bought a few small airlines along the way, but most of their growth has been slow, carefully planned, and each route or hub has been profitable pretty much from day one. It’s a tightly run ship.

      You’re right, Ryanair have dropped heaps of routes in the last few months because they couldn’t afford to keep them up and running. So they’ve replaced them with profitable routes. Would you not do the same if you were running Ryanair?

      I’ve no idea why you think Ryanair needs Aer Lingus to survive. Just look at the balance sheets for both. I’m not talking about cumulative cash in bank either, i’m talking about quarterly net profits. Ryanair has had over a decade of stunning results – Aer Lingus had a couple of years, then Willy Walsh fecked off. That’s another thing about Aer Lingus – they’ve had huge levels of CEO turnover of late, whereas Ryanair has the stability of a solid and loyal management team, headed by O’Leary, who have not just crafted an action plan, but are implementing it. Aer Lingus are just set to repeatedly change management, as they’ve always done, and for that reason as an airline they’ll never have stability.

      Personally, I think Ryanair is fine. Flying to London for work i’d usually fly CItyjet because they fly to London City, but if I was flying to some random destination for a weekend (I flew to Eindhoven earlier this year on a weekend piss up with some mates and all went perfectly with Ryanair), Ryanair are more than adequate. How would your prefer to get to all the destinations Ryanir fly to? By bus? Do you get a sammich on the bus with your seat? Course you don’t.

      The sooner we get over our antiquated, romantic view of Aer Lingus and realise that having a national airline isn’t a pride-inducing thing anymore, the better.

  19. Colin

    I agree with b, except about Shannon. b, do you really think people in the west should travel across the country then into gridlock, then go on a wild goose chase to find parking, then catch a bus back to get to the great Third World Dublin Airport instead of using their own local airport? And if Dubliners want a metro system built to the airport for €X billion , then raise the tax from Dubliners who use it.

    I’d love to see O’Leary taking Mannion’s glasses off and slapping him a few times (and this one’s for Shannon).

    Mannion does not not the national interest, he only knows self interest.

    Aer lingus had its day. Yes, I remember the good old days when you’d get a smiling dolled up young one parading up and down offering complimentary tea and coffee. But those days are over.

    If the takeover doesn’t go through, then its really time to emigrate! The way things are going, Ryanair will have a monopoly anyway since Aer Lingus will be down the tubes. Use the ferry if you still despise O’Leary or grow up.

  20. Colin

    I agree with b, except about Shannon. b, do you really think people in the west should travel across the country then into gridlock, then go on a wild goose chase to find parking, then catch a bus back to get to the great Third World Dublin Airport instead of using their own local airport? And if Dubliners want a metro system built to the airport for €X billion , then raise the tax from Dubliners who will use it.

    I’d love to see O’Leary taking Mannion’s glasses off and slapping him a few times (and this one’s for Shannon).

    Mannion does not know about any national interest or indeed shareholder’s interest, he only knows self interest.

    Aer lingus had its day. Yes, I remember the good old days when you’d get a smiling dolled up young one parading up and down offering complimentary tea and coffee. But those days are over.

    If the takeover doesn’t go through, then its really time to emigrate! The way things are going, Ryanair will have a monopoly anyway since Aer Lingus will be down the tubes. Use the ferry if you still despise O’Leary or grow up.

  21. Lorcan

    David, read your article this morning, and must say the image of the gouger O’Leary deflowering the virginal Aer Lingus is certainly a lively one to visualise over breakfast.

    The whole thing is, in my view, a clash of cultures. Aer Lingus is still largely in semi-state mode, Ryanair is a pared to the bone market/sales driven carrier, while they are both involved in the same business, they have very different models. A Ryanair takeover of Aer Lingus would have more in common with Tata’s takeover of Jaguar than Volkwagon’s takeover of Skoda for example. I doubt it would in any way amout to a full deflowering, perhaps something more along the line of the Aer Lingus ‘daughter’ having Daddy’s credit card taken away.

    Another possible airline merger in the news today is the British Airways/Quantas one. Interesting that Willie Walsh, ceo at BA and Alan Joyce, ceo at Quantas are both Dublin born former Aer Lingus employees. It is not a good reflection on Aer Lingus that both of these obviously talented people felt they had to leave.

    • Furrylugs

      And it it also true Lorcan, that MOL is the visible face of Ryanair. Michael Cawley has been the strategic commercial brain bringing in the Boeing deals and the tax strategies. There are others too that prefer relative anonymity.

      This is no mickey mouse company.

      The Management Team Biographies

      Directors

      David Bonderman has served as a director of Ryanair Holdings and Ryanair Limited since August 23, 1996 and as Chairman of the Board of Ryanair Holdings and Ryanair Limited since December 1996. In 1992, Mr. Bonderman co-founded Texas Pacific Group, a private equity investment firm. He currently serves as an officer and director of the general partner and manager of Texas Pacific Group. Mr. Bonderman is also an officer, director and shareholder of 1996 Air G.P., Inc., which owns shares of Ryanair. Mr. Bonderman serves on the Board of Directors of the following public companies: Burger King Holdings, Inc., CoStar Group, Inc. and GemAlto N.V.

      Emmanuel Faber has served as a director of Ryanair Holdings since September 25, 2002, and currently serves as Senior Vice President – Asia Pacific and a director of Groupe Danone. Mr. Faber is also a director of Legris Industries. Prior to his current appointment, he was head of the Mergers and Acquisitions and the Corporate Strategy department of Groupe Danone. Between 1993 and 1997, he served as a director and Chief Financial Officer of Legris Industries, a French public company specializing in mechanical engineering. From 1988 to 1993, Mr. Faber held a number of senior positions in the Corporate Finance department of Barings Bank.

      Michael Horgan has served as a director of Ryanair Holdings since January 12, 2001. A former Chief Pilot of Aer Lingus, he sometimes acts as a consultant to a number of international airlines, civil aviation authorities, the European Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Mr. Horgan chairs the Air Safety Committee of the Board.

      Klaus Kirchberger has served as director of Ryanair Holdings plc since September 25, 2002 and is also the Chief Executive Officer of Bayerische Bau und Immobilien GmbH & Co. KG. Between 1990 and 1994, he was a Senior Manager at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Munich. He also held senior management positions at IKB Industriebank AG, Munich and is a qualified German lawyer and auditor. Mr. Kirchberger is also a non-executive director of the German listed companies DIBAG AG and TTL Information Technology AG, as well as of Deutsche Immobilien Chancen AG & Co. KGaA and TTL International AG.

      Kyran McLaughlin has served as a director of Ryanair Holdings since January 12, 2001 and is Deputy Chairman and Head of Capital Markets at Davy Stockbrokers. Mr. McLaughlin is also Chairman of Elan Corporation plc and he serves as a director of a number of private companies.

      Michael O’Leary has served as a director of Ryanair Holdings since July 2, 1996 and a director of Ryanair Limited since November 25, 1988. Mr. O’Leary has been Chief Executive of Ryanair Limited since January 1, 1994.

      James R. Osborne has served as a director of Ryanair Holdings since August 22, 1996, as a Director of Ryanair Limited since April 12, 1995. Mr. Osborne was the managing partner of the law firm of A & L Goodbody Solicitors from May 1982 to April 30, 1994 and currently serves as a consultant to that firm. Mr. Osborne also serves on the Board of Directors of a number of Irish private companies.

      Paolo Pietrogrande is board member of Ryanair since 2001, is executive chairman of Gamesa Solar — 9REN Group. Mr. Pietrogrande is the former CEO of Enel GreenPower, of Nuovi Cantieri Apuania, of Netplan Management Consulting, and has held Chairmanships in Atmos Holding and Solar Energy Italia; a chemical engineer by training, has served as an executive at KTI Group, Bain & Company, General Electric, Enel, Ducati Motor Holding and Sviluppo Italia. His previous board membership include diffrent companies of the Enel group, Ducati Motor Holding, Trinergy Plc, Atmos and its subsidiaries. Mr Pietrogrande has been scientific director of EMBA at Alma Graduate School (University of Bologna).

  22. Garry

    The BA/QF merger and the mergers of various banks shows how quickly events are unfolding…. Mergers that would previously have been unthinkable (even from various Competition Authorities viewpoint) are being arranged all over the shop.

  23. John ALLEN

    Shannon has been first in so many ways ……..and thats hard to beat …….all other airports are clones….Shannon is at the top …….Ryanair knows that magic …thats why it is first too for what it offers …there will be lots more to happen in Shannon …and Aer Lingus ( space ship airline )……will return like a prodigal son or daughter

    • b

      Put down that crack pipe. The flying boats came into Foynes and not Shannon.

      Shannon is at the top OK. Top of the queue to be closed.

  24. David , I have enjoyed your article today a change from The Bankers ! , @ ALL the Ryan Air knockers here , it’s time the lot of you grew up outside of your insular world here in Ireland , Ryan Air is praised for it’s no nonsense approach and economy seats throughout Europe from Spain over to Italy and across Scandinavia . So a few British complain , well the British conservatives do enjoy their afternoon teas and it is the narrow minded amongst them who find fault with Ryan Air as it Gauls them that an Irish Man runs such a successful European Air Line, that’s all it is sour grapes !
    The problem Michael O Leary faces here will be the same as his last approach between Mannion and his bearded buddies running the unions and sitting on the board picking up their handy cheques know full well that they would be kicked out by the end of the very first week that he would be in ownership, and just like our inept politicians on their gravy train the national interest is of course not been taken into consideration.
    Ireland needs a few more straight talkers like O Leary , we have enough wafflers and CEO’s full of hot air and as for Biffo and Briano thinking out side the box and looking at what Ryan Air could do with Aer Lingus , I think we are living in fantasy land as their interest is with their trade union north Dublin votes.

  25. Geizer

    Some of us who travel with Ryanair aren´t Yobs, you know Mugsy. We can´t all afford first class or business class travel. You don´t work for Fas do you?

  26. martinomartino

    Hi David – argument aside, definitely consider your international audience..might be worth changing the “giving you fags” to cigarettes or smokes for especially the US readers..

    • b

      @martinmartino. Fags are a local term for cigarettes and has been in use for decades. Please take your PC crap away with you and if the article offends you you are free to visit other parts of the internet.

      • martinomartino

        heh heh B..occam’s razor…do you not think it sounds funny (as in hahah) in that context? probably not..also centuries rather than decades-just to give you something to get you hot and bothered this morning and visiting other parts of the internets to verify..

  27. John ALLEN

    Munster Rugby is the Top …..D Best …..in Europe …and D World ……when they play they do so …..with Pride ……..if D Irish Rugby Team was made up with only the Munster Team ……Ireland would be the Top …D Best in Europe ….and D World ……we need to find our ………True Values again …………….to Succeed as a Nation ….and with a …proper sense of Duty ….Thomond Park is now the Nations …New Dail…..a place …..to meet …..to watch with glory …..to fight with style and dignity …..and most of all….to WIN

  28. John ALLEN

    Pay Deals – the pound sterling will soon be on parity with the Euro and then the Sterling will become a member of the Euro Family …..this will reinforce the advantages of the low cost base in Northern Ireland and the UK ….this is more than very serious for The State ….because our costs will soar too high and increase the unemployment to unsustainable levels .We need to restore our costs base and reduce our importation especially food and non essential items .
    There is now a need to Centralise Factors of Production as we know them in Economics and that is within our remit as a Nation in the EU to do so .Lets say the Relevant Factors of Production now are and their solutions :

    AIR Transport – grant Ryan Air right to purchase Aer Lingus and a Regional Airport and build a new Dublin Airport .

    Labour Cost – Factor in wage reduction programmes from middle management to top management and safeguarding minimum wages and social welfare ….make a limit which earnings can be made for next two years subject to lifestyle means assessment

    Land Cost – Compel by legislation a freeze on land prices with a maximum value within a reasonable radius of cities and towns and subject to compulsory purchase

    Food Production – grant aid all production and compel social welfare recipients to work to produce

    Energy Costs – factor down costs in line with Pay Deals

    Utility Costs – factor down costs with pay deals

    Civil Service – cull as much as possible

    Energy Products – Invest in exploration in land and seas and invite Private Equity

    Infrastructure – Complete what was started and on plans and finace from savings
    on above

    Banks – Bord of Directors made to resign/ demoted and without Golden Balls

    Politics – The main parties agree to share duties in this national emergency and to work together …under a new Arrangements

    Employment can increase within our national economy when national restraint is managed properly and with Social Trust

    New Cabinet – new appointments of the best elected representatives in the Dail and not on a party only choice …and a New Leader ( Taoiseach )

    • Dr.Nightdub

      “make a limit which earnings can be made for next two years subject to lifestyle means assessment”
      I’ve read this sentence several times now and still can’t understand it. Where are the subtitles?

      “Land Cost – Compel by legislation a freeze on land prices with a maximum value within a reasonable radius of cities and towns and subject to compulsory purchase”
      Purchase for what purpose? To relieve ailing developers of their otherwise-worthless land banks at “maximum value” prices?

      “Food Production – grant aid all production and compel social welfare recipients to work to produce”
      In chain gangs? Why not? We could always get in some consultants from Alabama or somewhere, just until we get the hang of running them ourselves.

      “Civil Service – cull as much as possible”
      A pleasant change from baby seals but still a tad extreme – would the taxpayer have to cover the funeral costs?

      “Banks – Bord of Directors made to resign/ demoted and without Golden Balls”
      Sorry, even castration’s too good for them.

      “Employment can increase within our national economy when national restraint is managed properly and with Social Trust”
      Does national restraint mean we can’t have the chain gangs, culling and castration? Ah come on, it’d beat the hell out of bread and circuses…

  29. John ALLEN

    Security of Possessions – Crime is the biggest growth industry now and needs to be stopped using State and Voluntary Agencies and recruiting the unemployed

  30. fergm

    i don’t where you got your figures from but i’m worried about how in accurate they are. it does not cost ryanair €55 per passenger the cost is just over €40. and Aer Lingus cost base is around €80 as to make a fair comparison you can really only use the short haul part of Aer lingus

  31. Aer lingus is on the verge of re-inventing itself with massive redundancy payments to the cosseted workers to eliminate the restrictive practices which made it a case for bankruptcy in the first place.
    I gather that the same workers will be “re-employed” within an instant of getting their huge payoffs-under new conditions of flexibility of work hours etc.
    Not only do these fat cat former semi state employees now own a chunk of a company which they have obligingly rescued from ruin-they have a nice nest egg in the bank to tide them over until they get their generous pensions.!
    What would you not give to be cosseted secure employee in these hard times.?
    Thank God for David Begg and SIPTU.(and a spineless government still in power)
    ´This may be Olearys big chance.Surely even the pilots would love to recover the fortune they spent -in a fit of pique-out of their own pension fund to block new management, when Aer Lingus shares hit 3 Euros!!

  32. The Eye

    Pull the Knickers off Aer Lingus thats what I say! Release the hounds! The company has the brain of an overweight public servant dying with a hangover on a monday morning sickie, Aer Lingus baggage handlers are paid better than Doctors for God Sake! Even the “Cabin Crew” are bet down make- up monkeys too old to be allowed fly.
    O’Leary is great, he’s the real deal and he pays his Tax in Ireland not like DMcWs Noble Knight paymaster.

  33. You are wrong of course. No Irish Mammy in her right mind would allow her daughter reject the overtures of a fella with strong cashflows, good prospects, a farm near Mullingar and a herd of prize Aberdeen Angus, even if he was a bit lippy.

  34. Philip

    The penny seems not to have dropped for many of you guys. You are equating good management with high profit…profit born out of being let provide a rubbish service with awful contracts to employees. Ireland has one of the poorest labour laws in Europe and we are a bunch of non-complainers – Ryan Air is just another example of Rip Off Republic which flourished over the last 10 years based on this Irish idiocy. Remarkably, many of you seem not to vaguely understand the real cost of end to end travel which includes access to the end points. They cancel flights without notice, their end points are located hours away from key transport points, the time wasted!! Add it up! I guess many have not done that…and that would explain other issues in Ireland we have with financial numeracy.

    All MOL and the lads will do is asset strip Aer Lingus, move its HQ to Warsaw and rack up the cost of travel out of Ireland. And like the once lauded financial engineers in the financial sector, they will find that they are suddenly over capacity and a rubbish place to work for and will burn out. In a depression, you get 2 divides…those with Money and those without…Why would you bother with the hassle of Ryanair if you have money.

    A company needs to balance Shareholders, Customers and Employees. Ryanair are 100% lopsided to shareholders. Aerlingus are more towards the other 2. And in case anyone forgot, you need well paid employees to buy goodies other sell…join the dots!!

    The issue is one of management. MOL is a good horsetrader. Nothing more. It’s one dimensional as long as the environment does not change too much. The game is going to become a little more sophisticated when the regulators hit. Aerlingus under a Willie Walsh would be a better option. It may be amessier and less profitable approach, but a vastly better long term bet.

    • b

      Bollocks!

      Ryanair has 160+ aircraft under an Irish flag. Why would the go to Poland?

      O’Leary is the sharpest financial mind in the country bar none. ALL his decisions to date have been made with the bottom line and the figures to back them up.

      Most airlines go bust. Ryanair, Southwest and Air Asia have the same model and they don’t go bust. Lads, as you say yourselves, join the dots!

  35. Mugsy

    b, You talk like a petulant 12 year old, try talking like an adult.

    Why do you think Ryanair is so desperate to get Aer Lingus? Because they are the ones who are running out of choices maybe?

    What hasn’t grown like wildfire in the last 10 years?

    The best-run companies in the world don’t treat their employees like Ryanair does. Sure they have a strong board and management, but everyone else is disposable. Also, bosses at well-run companies don’t run around making clowns of themselves. O’Leary is no Branson much as he tries. Still, I agree he has done his homework and he is a talented cost manager.

    I do not begrudge anyone’s personal or business success and I am not a snob, Geizer. I just don’t like the Ryanair experience and I’m being honest. No one likes it, that’s the point. They just tolerate it to save money and get from a to b. It has nothing to do with prejudice. It’s like taking the bus and that wrecks the buzz of traveling. But I have been grateful they have offered a service where others haven’t and I am not anti-Ryanair.

    b, using ‘it’s very Irish’ as an insult sounds very british.

    • b

      Mugsy. You are really a mug. Look ar Ryanair and look at Aer Lingus like a good little boy and tell me which one is doing better.

      Your “points” are based on prejudice and not an ounce of business nous. You are acting as if the rest of the world does not exist, there is no tsunami sized depression coming and Aer Lingus exists in some protected little vacuum and is bullied at every turn by Ryanair.

      Get a grip. i don’t see you out whinging about Dublin Bus who has a “service” that is worse than walking.

  36. The Eye

    If the Ryanair service is that bad, why are people voting with their feet and using the service? It is what it is.

  37. [...] David McWilliams thinks that the Irish public is being a little unrealistic in its assessment of the Ryanair bid. He is right. The comments give an indication of how unrealistic the public is. But the reality is that Aer Lingus is a minnow in a world of eagles and it has to be bought by somebody if it is to avoid the disastrous fate of Alitalia and many other flag carriers before it. [...]

  38. Una

    Much rather see O’Leary in charge of Aer Lingus than BA or anyone else. That been said if he controls 80% of the traffic out of Dublin the government should have the ability to say or nay to any ‘mischief’ that he might get upto. Say what you want about O’Leary but Ryanairs record speaks for itself and they have survived and prospered and have nt let the big boys in Europe push them out of the market when others could have folded. Interesting to see that the government are actually considering his proposal and as they seem to be in short supply of cash at the moment I would nt bet against them selling off some of the silverware even if O’Leary is getting the airline at a bargain basement price. The biggest obstacle has to be convincing Europe that what they ruled against 2 years ago is no longer valid…. That and the Unions but if anyone can turn it around I would nt bet against O’Leary.

  39. I couldn’t give two ….s whether O’Leary (Sir Freddie Laker
    reincarnated ) is or not the most successful aviation/otherwise businessmen in Ireland. Youngest brother I’d tap him first, then I come behind hi, and the next thing he’d find or fell more like is his two legs broken in the most painful place the shinbone.
    Running a (especially a transport) business based on shareholder interest alone has got to be idiot.
    Has the banking investment system not brought anything “home yet?“
    Eventually it’ll be stand-up room to get more on board.
    I can’t stand his indifference to the pollution issue. He acts when asked about that aspect like a thick red neck, his supercilious grin.
    Threatening to boycott the inclusion of aviation in the EU’s carbon trading scheme.
    Ian Pearson said about Ryanair: “When it comes to climate change, Ryanair are not just the unacceptable face of capitalism, they are the irresponsible face of capitalism,”
    O’Leary said Ryanair was Europe’s greenest airline, being more efficient in terms of emissions per passenger than the regular flag carriers, such as BA. (Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace, said: “Ian Pearson is right)
    O’Leary’s favourite stance: ”there’re worse than us out there.” and “so called ‘environmental taxes’ are just another way of greedy politicians grabbing more money from ordinary passengers.”
    He’s so thick he thinks emissions trading is a good way to go.
    I would imagine he would consider off-setting wife cheating; paying someone else to be faithful.

    ”greedy politicians grabbing” There’s a line for you greedy, and he’s trying to save people money, the frugal savior to mankind. That’s all he ever thinks about making a profit bigger than anybody else. He wants along with the money the power the politicians have- a clear case of projection.

    O’Leary is a sick puppy along with Blain who would agree about airport expansion.
    People like him have to reined in if we are to have any kind of a decent world.

    • b

      Ah. Your last line gave it away. People like him are what gets to you! Nothing annoys people more than the sight of their neighbour getting rich.

      If you are corupt in Ireland it is acceptable. But if you build up a business and get ideas above your station you get people like Paddy here threatening to break his legs for being successful.

      If we are going to get onto emissions why not get onto the Government and Irish Rail about freight transport. I import food into Ireland and instead of using one or tow trains to Dublin we send SIXTY lorry loads per week up the congested motorways.

      Ryanair is a public and easy target and everyone gets all hot under the collar about it but road transport and farming belches out far more than they do. This debate is about snobbery and not some prize supermodel. Aer Lingus is a pig with lipstick. I only fly them to connect to a real airline in Amsterdam or Paris.

  40. COMMENT by b: Paddy here threatening to break his legs for being successful

    No, absolutely not.
    I have no problem with people getting rich, the very best to them really. I wouldn’t mind having a few bob above and beyond myself. However, I have a big problem with how people make their money. I believe in fare and open competition (no Declan Ganly shenanigans) in offering services of any/every kind and likewise fare treatment; a decent concern for workers. Once ethics are disregarded by either party all suffer in the end as we are right now.
    More than patriotism is needed to be successful. There needs to be a core feeling (value judgment) standard of what is right, and the courage to carry it out in the face of the majority, the heard doing business for business sake, and with a wanton disregard for people: “it’s only business and nothing personal” attitude. (((SIXTY lorry loads per week up the congested motorways)))
    Case in point: I watched a documentary on immigrant truck drivers in Ireland. An average of 100 hours a week, false documentation; no proper stops. Exactly the way business is these days if it has to compete. They’ll kill people/put people in jeopardy to make their profit quota.
    I not pointing the finger at you, it’s the same in all business and it is time the madness stopped.
    All roads lead to modified slavery 21st. Century.

    • b

      I still can’t see how Ryanair is the root of all this evil and also why it has taken so long to see that Ireland is full of people who work as slaves. We have it in the domestic help market and in truck driving.

      We never solve these problems. All we do is go and kick O’Leary again and make ourselves feel like we have done something.

      We tried in vain to put the stuff on trains but IR do not want to know. They would rather that we went away. Hence we use the trucks and the majority of the drivers are Irish and the client is an Iris multinatiional with their products in every single kitchen in Ireland. The State has kicked us through Eircom not wanting to give us broadband, Iarnrod Eireann refusing to carry the goods and another agency trying to close down the facility.

      Now you may start to kick off and say that maybe we are in the wrong business but if the State is giving the ports a kicking where are we going to export from if they are forced to close?

      Sell Aer Lingus to O’Leary. It is almost all in private hands now. What is the big deal if the Mullingar farmer runs it. He couldn’t do any worse than the current shower.

  41. John ALLEN

    irish rail…….they had 750 people working for them last year …its now 550 …soon 200 more will be laid off…..this organisation should be increasing employment and having 2000 people working for them ….DMCW …please do a report on this matter as it is causing a great loss to the taxpayer and environmental supporters ……they lost the contract with Irish Cement …now all cement nationally is brought by road ..a stop should be put to this immediately

  42. Why always talk in terms of doing worse (a bit like the man himself O’Leary) when you could be doing better. Yes I know you know like – I do – I said- “it’s business.”
    That’s maybe the good thing of things going back – to zero interest rates the good old bad old days with the knowledge that it doesn’t work now going forward the it did then, and the dismantling
    of regulation in banking/business, the Union in the work place. The balance is lost if you do so.

    Simple if you ask yourself why do we have men like O’Leary. Guys starting up their own business. Is it social conscious, and a need to create a more fare and open market system? That’s O’Leary’s reason: making travel possible for – the less well of/everybody (my “what-its“)
    I don’t think so, in fact I/you know so. He’s tired of working for someone who get 50 and more – or less – time his salary, and he thinks he can just about get the edge by undercut the price, gets a loan if he has to (they mostly do) to EXPAND (which is inevitable) to get a better foot hold/compete.
    He gets to expand, and someone else cuts in on him, and so it goes throughout all business with undeveloped countries (climbing to international standards) undercutting all business; the global merry-go-round of indebted collapse begins.
    But while businesses are stingingly thriving and government is rolling in the revenue, the banks are making a fortune but it’s only make believe and the government have to give as much revenue as they can to create some semblance of reality. However, the government don’t have enough to go around.

    Time to read Marx again. What goes up must come down, unless you find a way to respect gravity financial in the financial system.
    You can’t privatize everything, it should be clear now.
    Paying the full price for commodities will have to be realized somehow.
    O I have to shut up now.

    • b

      If you had a point Paddy maybe I would listen. O’Leary operates in one of the most regulated and watched industries. From Day 1 Aer Lingus wanted to drive Ryanair out of the skys. Unlike many of the builders Ryanair is a Plc and has to provide quarterly reports and an annual report for all to read. Many developers have unlimited companies so they don’t have to publish accounts. Remember that when you are sitting in a shitty, breezy, overpriced and overmortgaged flat shaking your unemployed fist at a Ryanair plane and blaming it for your problems. We need more O’Learys and not a failed communist manifesto that you are blathering out.

      The banks are NOT making a fortune. They are barely solvent after speculating on gaffs and towers. Have you no telly in North Korea?

      Undeveloped countries? What are these? Like Mongolia or are you saying Third World countries? Countries where you probably have never been apart from this one.

      Your incoherent rant is just that. An incoherent rant. There is no point, no sense and absolutely no evidence whatsoever for your “position”. Half the groups of words you use, I won’t call them sentences make no sense.

      Ignorance is not a point of view.

      • webmaster

        b, since you can’t seem to be polite to other commenters, I am moderating your comments.
        They will be reviewed and approved if appropriate but they will not be shown immediately.

        • b

          Thats fine. Obviously shattering the poor folks delusions is not on so I must be censored. These same people will be screaming and roaring when Aer Lingus goes to the wall in the Depression. Ryanair will then be able to pick up the pieces for either free or for a knockdown price.

          All I am saying is for the government to take the money and run. O’Leary is kicked for being successful and not throwing petals at your feet when you fly.

          I am reminded of Bono on the Late Late. I quote “Some fifteen minutes into the interview, the question of celebrity, fame and the surreal nature of all that goes with it was raised. “Does it feel like home to you or is it like you’re in another dimension?”. Bono responded by describing his unease with some, though not all elements of stardom, and a tendency to live a “fairly under the radar life in Ireland”. “Because you can just pop into a pub and it’s no big deal?”. “Well in Ireland they have an interesting attitude to success. In America, you look up at the house on the hill, the mansion and say “One day that could be me”. In Ireland they look up at the mansion and go “One day I’m gonna get that bastard”.

          This is the attitude to O’Leary and to success that I am against. I apologise if I offend the middle classes but the attitude is poisonous and unnecessicary. We need more people like this if we are to survive out here on a rock in the Atlantic. Aer Lingus is the cozy, deluded, rose tinted past and Ryanair is the harsh, realistic view of the future. This debate is less about a few planes and more about making a choice between living in a fantasy land or living in the real world. Aer Lingus and the whole furore around it is preferring the myth to reality.

          Over and out.

  43. The meditator

    b and paddy etc…
    Take it easy on the slagging each other.

  44. john h

    is it me or is b becoming tedious to read?

  45. Fergus

    As if the latest Roy Keane news hasn’t put us Corkonians in a bad enough mood already, Heineken announce tonight that they are closing down Beamish and Crawford Brewery, an act of cultural vandalism as well as a monumental blow to the stout market. Beamish is a great drink, beloved of so many corkonians, and I noticed of an increasing number of old time dubs too. Besides, it was 50c cheaper on average than guinness and murphys, so went down well for all you “competition works” maniacs. There has been a brewery on the site since the 1600s, making it the oldest brewery in Ireland by a long way.

    Well you can be sure that Heineken won’t push Beamish like the previous owners did, probably already making a strategic decision to phase it out over the next decade, slowly but surely, killing it softly.

    Of course the Competition Authority is to blame here. Did a great job too with the takeover of Eircom by Tony O Reilly and chums, so have outdone themselves yet again.

    David, your answer to this crisis in capitalism is turbo capitalism??? You’re thinking has gone stale my friend…..about as stale as a mouldy pint of guinness!!

    • Furrylugs

      Fergus,
      The closing of Beamish & Crawford opens up a marvellous opportunity for a local micro-brewery in the continental style using a co-operative model.
      Staffed with the ex employees, kept small with a local marketting team and service techs.
      Any takers for the committee?

      I, of course, will be in charge of quality control.

    • Garry

      Beamish, Heiniken etc are no longer drinks, they are brands… Apart from being able to brew the stuff in different factories and still call it the same beer, this whole brand thing has always smelled like marketing people flogging shit to other marketing people.

      I’m sure there’s a product team in Heineken who are concerned about the old time customer base for Beamish.. an old time image is good but jeasus we cant have only oul fellas drinking the stuff…Maybe they’ll do a Hennessey, pay a few rappers to write a few songs. Beamish rhymes with biatch (work with me) ye might see yer beloved Beamish being skulled by the likes of 50 cent on MTV… its 50 cents cheaper than guinness…

      now if they could pull that off I’d lose all faith in humanity

      • Furrylugs

        Hmm,
        50 Cent with a flat cap, collie dog and pipe slurping away with diddly diddly in the background. Could he Rap the Galway Girl?
        There’s a hidden marketeer in you Garry.

  46. John ALLEN

    Da Wu Yu Code ( extract only ) – the feeling of presence in Merrion Square is one of before it was built ; there was nothing .This period before Fianna Fail marked the election to the Dail was before time as we know it .Before time and throughout time there has been a self existing being ( electorate ) – eternal ,infinite , complete ,omnipresent .This being cannot be named or phrased , because human speech only applies to perceptible beings .
    Walking around Merrion Square one can only sense that the primodial being was primitively and, is still, essentially imperceptible .Outside this being , before the beginning , there was nothing ‘non-being’ or ‘formless, ‘mystery’ or ‘the principal’.The period when there was not yet any sentient being , when the essence alone of the principal existed , is called ‘before Celtic Tiger’ (Wu).
    The day that Merrion Square was built marked the beginning of Time.From that day , the principle was named by the double term of ‘ Merrion Square and Celtic Tiger ‘ (Yu).The new political landscape shaped by man with Merrion Square pointed the beginning of the ‘virtue of the Principal’ – ie. generates all products that fill the world.The symbol of this landscape can be seen as man’s quest to produce , to engage in commerce and to initiate the faculty of human awareness , rest and activity , or put it another way , empty and full.The location of this national monument symbol tapped into the economic fiscal policies , the life force of the Nation in Europe , and manifested from this powerful force of the EU the power of the human mind to create ideas with images and moved by passion.
    Today Merrion Square has lost itself to the sea of lust and greed .That part of which it has lost has been returned by Irish Banking Fraud to ‘The Principal ‘, the period when there not any sentient being , when there was nothing , when the essence was ‘before Celtic Tiger ‘ and when there was not time .The existing economic structure is a design crafted in partnership by both man and nature .The removal of that part now lost to the sea of lust and greed marks in man’s consciousness the period of timelessness when the mind was absolutely still , completely empty and calm .A pure and clear mirror , it was capable of reflecting the ineffable and unnameable essence of the Principal itself .This is called ‘ Atlantis’.

  47. ” The New Fianna Testament” :The Beatitudes, according to Saint Bertie and the Soldiers of Destiny.

    And Bertie and Beverly were reconciled on the day that Bertie led his followers (wealthy farmers,despised refuse tax collectors, building speculators,and rich merchants) up a high mountain in the Land of Flynn,(Croagh Patrick) where they paused to rest. ,He addressed them in these words;

    ‘Look around you,my disciples…all this, I give to those of you who worship me.Verily I say unto you;-

    “Blessed are the young people , who have been priced out of the home ownership market,by corruption,nepotism,stroke politics, and well connected builders and land speculators.

    Blessed are those who no longer labour for profit; who pay 70% of the price of motor fuel in government tax; who suffer the highest vehicle purchase taxes in Europe;the highest alcoholic drink taxes;the highest V.A.T.taxes; stealth taxes of every kind; new rubbish taxes;water taxes(pending);road toll taxes; Health(private V.H.I.) taxes;credit card taxes, airline flight taxes-and before all this, after 42% income tax , deducted at source.!

    Blessed are those who walk in the countryside for recreation,and are hindered and persecuted;blocked by the barbed wire fences of landowners and farmers, who take vast sums of the common people’s taxes , throughout the E.U. Empire,-and give nothing back in return.

    Blessed are the Anglers who wait all day by the lakeside —and catching nothing!

    Their stocks are destroyed,their labours wasted.Patiently they endure agricultural pollution,nitrate poisoning,and legalized drift net fishing by rich men in the coastal estuaries.

    Blessed are the poor. They do not have quotas or licenses,like the farmers,fishermen,and publicans; to sell their goods at high prices in the marketplace; they cannot lay waste fish stocks and the salmon, with impunity, in our seas and coastal estuaries.They cannot sell milk at cartel prices, or breed cattle and produce food which only the rich can afford.They have no powerful lobby to protect them from the so called “Common Market” which milks the taxpayers of Europe to enrich the well organized few.

    Blessed are those who are not licenced to sell alcohol to the foolish crowds who flock to the drinking taverns nightl.
    This monopoly has been the stranglehold of the corrupt politicians who also govern the nation, and their cunning cohorts countrywide.Now their taverns are empty.

    Blessed are those who endure lawlessness, greed, and anarchy,all around them; those who are the victims of crime; scourged by illegal dumping; illegal quarrying, illegal developments and the widespread practice of nation wide diesel laundering fraud by criminal gangs.

    Blessed are those communities where ribbon road development; one off housing; section 140 motions;- are commonplace in the councils.Where houses are quickly sold off, in the speculative frenzy of the times.

    Cursed are the civil servants who are passed over for promotion,because of their refusal to leave their families and their homes and relocate to the rural wastelands of Connaght.If they refuse to obey my law ,I shall scatter them and their families,and descendents across the land of Erin to occupy the new houses and offices built by my Elect;- Martin ‘Cu’Cullen,

    Blessed are those who shun the local councils .Watch how they act,these councillors,- always full of their own importance; purporting to represent the common people while in reality rezoning lands for one another’s advantage; doing deals in dark corridors where money changes hands; profiting themselves at every opportunity; grasping and greedy -like pigs;travelling to foreign places and living in luxury hotels;ever feeding from the public trough and on the public purse, while devising new ways to tax the poor.

    Blessed are those who suffer the injustice of elected leaders who have abused the trust placed upon them by the people.; Blessed are those who must ever more witness the spectacle of arrogant criminals-full of bluff and bluster-strutting defiantly before the Courts,and justifying themselves daily to the Mahon Tribunal, while pompous lawyers fatten themselves from the public purse in Dublin Castle.

    Blessed are those citizens of the new Europe who now find it difficult to gain employment,while companies imports and exploit cheap labour,under government licence,from far corners of the world .

    Blessed are the victims of penalty points for minor infringements,and ludicrously low speed limits;-while the same drunken and hypocritical TD,s/ public representatives nightly traverse our highways and fill the car parks of public drinking places with almost total impunity.

    Blessed are the new unemployed,as the plague of inflation traverses the land and multinational companies strike camp, and fade into the night.

    But cursed are those former politicians and businessmen (many now deceased) who sent their wealth to foreign lands and falsely colluded with rich bankers , to avoid paying irish tax collectors.

    They shall wish they had never been born.! their souls shall never taste the sweet balm of true Paradise. They will thirst eternally, in the hereafter, for the life giving water of My redemption, which their filthy lucre cannot buy in the hellish Islands of infernal heat (the Bahamas etc) where they have constructed their false God Mammon.

    Happy are those who have no connection with; and who have never voted for; and who have never profited by;- the corruption,the wasteful spending,or the pre-election largesse of the Soldiers of Destiny.

    Blessed are those who cherish their ancestral burial grounds,and all traces of irish history and heritage;-though it shall be laid waste,in My generation.

    A false Cu-Cullen has arisen, (from the South), and created an army of mechanized monsters which will enrich the farmers and landowners of Royal Meath immeasurably,but he will desolate the land, and destroy the graves of our ancestors which lie in the path of his infernal bulldozers.

    The people will wring their hands in anguish as they languish daily in their useless chariots, and pay extortionate fuel and toll taxes to Cullen’s clownish comrades, wherever they go.

    This prophesy must come to pass and Ancient Tara itself will be laid waste.

    But I tell you truly,you need not despair. Now is your hour of darkness.Now is your time of suffering.The Soldiers Of Destiny will sift you like wheat,(with your own money).

    All this you will suffer for my sake.

    In the end it may be Labour and Fine Gael that betray you….

    But your reward will be great in Heaven.”
    This is the Word of Saint Bertie and his anointed one, Holy Cow-an!.

  48. Paul

    Merrion Square, they, like the rest of the Island, just adopted anything they saw or heard from the UK. The UK adopted their habits from the US. So, our US ancestors shaped this nation. The area of Dublin that I live in, resembles Essex these days. The only thing missing is the Cockney twangs, everything else looks like Essex. We are a cheap copy, a satelite town, and we are about as Celtic as a Polish man. We are not Tiger’s, unless this symbol or animal stands for being greedy and cheap.

  49. Philip

    Getting back to the Ryanair takeover. Their latest offer smells of desperation. The low cost model is showing problems and they are afraid to admit it. People simply do not want to travel now. People are keeping their credit card in their pockets. The effects will not be seen until after the Christmas rush. Aerlingus with its broader market/ coverage, more sophisticated support infrastructure (though costly) looks like it might come out the other end and O’Leary sees it like the true trader he is.

    You see, when you keep on cutting, you find you have no slack or loyalty. A few hundred million will only keep you afloat for a few months at their kind of burn rate. They have new planes and lowest maintenance and cost of operation in Europe. But this starts to rack up with time and in a tightening credit market, the game changes in terms of running an operation. The people flying are now looking for real value…those who understand the real end to end cost of travel. They are not fooled by the Ryan Air Model.

    In the early days, Ryan Air was a genuine value for money operation. It got Ireland on the map in many ways. The developments in recent years with respect to wheelchairs, gotchas, petty things like not honoring prizes etc (what is all that about!!) suggest at best of form of lunacy or at worst a stingy bullying nature. The culture is disrespectful of human dignity and the suggestion is we move that nonsense into Aerlingus. Is this what ireland is really about?

    I see Boeing is starting to ramp up production of their Dreamliner. A fast small long range jobby. Certainly fits the RyanAir model for cheap travel at a transcontinental level. Who knows? Maybe like the true horse trader he is, he’s about to take a bite out of the Chinese to Europe to India to US travel trade with the most modern fleet there is to cover the world. Somehow, I think we are going to find out soon. May as well stop being churlish and wish them good luck?

  50. John ALLEN

    Philip – Great Insight

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