"The only person making things up here is you" - Claire Byrne and Michael O'Leary had a tense interview on Friday 2 months ago

"The only person making things up here is you" - Claire Byrne and Michael O'Leary had a tense interview on Friday

It was a heated interview.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has been one of the most vociferous critics of Ireland's restrictions on foreign travel.


O'Leary was interviewed on Today with Claire Byrne on Friday morning, where the pair had some substantial differences of opinion on the current restrictions in place.

The chat centred on restrictions in the country on foreign travel but became heated when O’Leary said Ireland should be more like the UK, which is removing all of its restrictions on 19 July.

"The difference now and in 2021 is vaccinations, which has transformed the situation," O'Leary said.

"We have 27 other EU member states where people are free to move around who are vaccinated, children under 18 can eat in restaurants.

"In Ireland we're still locked up, our nearest neighbour in the UK, which by the way we have an open border with at the north of Ireland, have been allowed eat in restaurants and open their pubs for about the last four weeks.

"And we still have NPHET telling us 'Ooooh we have to lock down until the 19 July'."

Byrne then pointed out the letter in the Lancet arguing against the easing of restrictions, which had been signed by over 100 medics in the UK.


O'Leary asked her “not to quote The Lancet” and said “it’s not every medic”, and added that Professor Luke O’Neill, who this week said Covid-19 would become like colds and flus in the end, has a “much more common sense approach”.

However, Byrne stated she had spoken to O'Neill recently and said that he had said "it was too much too soon".

O’Leary then accused her of misquoting Professor O’Neill, to which Byrne replied: “I was here, I was here with him. Listen, I’m not going to fight with you over Luke O’Neill.

“I’m not arguing with you on the very fact, the basic point that people want to travel, I understand that. People want to go out and work on airplanes and work in airports, goodness me they want to.

"But surely we’ve got to be careful, we don’t want to put people at risk, we are in a new situation with this Delta thing and we don’t know how it’s going to end up.”


You can listen back to the interview in full here.