| 5.7°C Dublin

Government action Ryanair's Michael O’Leary says Covid-19 vaccinations should be mandatory for air travel

The outspoken airline chief also hit out at 'lunatic fringes' who think the pandemic is a conspiracy


Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has said governments should place increasing restrictions on the unvaccinated – including making vaccination mandatory for air travel.

The outspoken airline chief added that this should include not allowing people who are unvaccinated to enter hospitals and pharmacies while hitting out at “lunatic fringes” who think the pandemic is a conspiracy.

In an interview with The Times published at the weekend, Mr O’Leary also said that “mass hysteria” over the Omicron variant is being driven by Downing Street.

His comments come as Ireland recorded its highest daily confirmed cases since January with 7,333 Covid-19 cases reported on Saturday.

Speaking about people who have not yet been vaccinated flying, Michael O’Leary said: “I have no difficulty saying to people, you can fly, but you have to be vaccinated.

“We fully respect your right to be not vaccinated if you are one of the lunatic fringes who believe this is some government, big pharma conspiracy.

“But if you are not vaccinated, you can’t go to the supermarket, you can’t go to the pharmacy. You shouldn’t be allowed into hospital if you’re not vaccinated,” he said.

"If you tell someone under 30 years of age that they cannot get into a pub they'd get vaccinated pretty damn quickly.

"But governments should place increasing restrictions (on the unvaccinated), while recognising the rights of everybody. If you want to be unvaccinated, that's fine, but we should increasingly not allow those to go to work, to travel on the Underground, to fly, to go to the supermarket, to go to pharmacies,” the Ryanair CEO added.

Mr O’Leary also said what he described as “mass hysteria” about the Omicron variant is generally being driven by Downing Street and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

This, he said, is “probably to cover up all of the party messes that they were having 12 months ago”.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

He added: “I think it just shows the inept political leadership in the UK that is not replicated in the rest of Europe. They’re not panicking in Italy or Spain or Holland or Germany.”

Late on Saturday Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that his country was going into a lockdown because of the Omicron wave.

Mr O’Leary also hit out at Mr Johnson for his treatment of the business sector in the UK.

He told The Times: “He was the one who said ‘f*** business’. And to be fair to him, he has followed through brilliantly, he has f***ed businesses all over the UK.

“If you were running a business, you wouldn’t hire Johnson, Michael Gove or Priti Patel. They’re all idiots. The only thing they have in common is that they were all Johnson-supporting Brexiteers.

“Anybody with any ability is kind of frozen out of the Cabinet,” he said.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices