It’s happening in another country, so our press hasn’t focused on it yet – despite the potential fallout – but on October 2nd, Ireland is re-running its referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Guarantees on contentious issues like Irish neutrality and abortion law have been given, and the Yes campaign is making a big push.
And in the vanguard of the Yes campaigners is one Michael O’Leary. Yes, that Michael O’Leary: the Ryanair CEO is backing his stance with half a million Euros and the power of Ryanair’s press and PR nous. So why would he do that?
The press release, placing O’Leary firmly in the Yes camp, tells of “low fares” throughout the EU, but then all Ryanair PR bangs on about that. It is, however, plainly honest about the most obvious reason for supporting Lisbon: the EU was at the heart of air travel deregulation all those years ago. Without it, we wouldn’t have the carriers that use the SouthWest Airlines’ business model: EasyJet, Jet2, BMIBaby, and most relevant to Ireland, Ryanair.
O’Leary is being honest: the EU made his company possible. He owes them.