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03rd Mar 2023

Michael O’Leary slates Eamon Ryan over latest Dublin Airport incident

Rory Fleming

Michael OLeary

The Ryanair boss was incensed by the most recent drone incident at Dublin Airport.

Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, criticised Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, following his apparent lack of response to the latest in a spate of drone-enforced closures at Dublin Airport.

Flights were grounded yesterday evening at Dublin Airport, when a drone was detected flying within the prohibited 5km airspace which encircles the country’s largest airport, forcing numerous flight delays and diversions.

Flights were grounded yesterday afternoon at Dublin Airport.

The closure lasted for approximately 30 minutes, in which time three flights due to land at Dublin Airport were diverted to Belfast and Shannon, in what was the sixth incident of its kind in just a matter of weeks.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the airline mogul called on Minister Ryan to “take more action”, citing the introduction of anti-drone mechanisms at the airport as a possible solution.

Incensed, O’Leary remarked; “Dublin Airport is the only major EU airport that six times in the last six weeks has been shut down by illegal drone activity. Minister Ryan is holding meetings, he’s promising action, he’s meeting stakeholders – which, in political speak, is doing nothing”.

Responding to the latest drone incident themselves, the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) called for the government to intervene and to introduce “new legislation” which would aim to establish “counter drone technology and harsher sentences”.

Mr. O’Leary suggested his own solutions to radio listeners this morning, stating “The solution is fairly easy – we don’t want 15 year jail sentences, we want Dublin Airport to have the power to disable drones… It’s not expensive and it’s operated by airport police”.

Once again calling on Eamon Ryan to take a stand on the matter, the Ryanair chief quipped “The problem here is that we have a minister who won’t take any action… We need the minister to authorise Dublin Airport to spend €100,000 which will disable these drones once identified and bring them down”.

Ryan has been heavily criticised by O’Leary.

Given the fact any newly-proposed legislation would likely take between six to 12 months to become ratified in law, O’Leary urged Minister Ryan to act decisively and “empower Dublin Airport Authority to disable the drones and authorise them to purchase the equipment to take it down”.

“We just need a decision and action by lunchtime today. And if he won’t make that decision, he should resign as transport minister and return to the leafy suburbs of Ranelagh where he can worry about bicycle lanes”, said O’Leary in his critique of the governmental reaction.

Minister Ryan is yet to respond to O’Leary’s remarks.

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