Michael O'Leary at the business breakfast on Friday last organised by Deputy Robert Troy FF, on right.

O'Leary calls for axe to call on subsidies to RTE, Raidio na Gaeltachta and Irish Chamber Orchestra

Subsidies to RTE, Raidio na Gaeltachta and the Irish Chamber Orchestra should end – even if these enterprises can’t stand on their own two feet financially, Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary told journalists in Mullingar on Friday.


“RTE should have been privatised years ago,” he said, stating that it was “left wing and run by the unions”.

“I turned it on last night and the first story was some union story -[an] irrelevant union story – despite Trump’s election in America, refugee crisis in Europe, war in Syria. It’s always unions unions  unions, because they control  RTE, they run the RTE authority. And all you get is this diatribe coming out of the unions all the time, which passes for news.

“You look at BBC: they don’t have industrial correspondents topping the news. They’re actually dealing with news. So I think the best thing that could be done with RTE would be to privatise it, break  it up and sell it – allow it to compete openly and fairly with Newstalk and the other private sector media.

“It has been a failed monopoly for many years, it has not served the country well and the sooner it is broken up and sold and we have a disparate broadcast media – certainly in the television sector - the better.”

Mr O’Leary said that many other media outlets had “one hand tied behind their backs” as there isn’t a fair open competition for the advertising space.

“Can we continue to afford to have this publicly subsidised tv monopoly that just panders to the trade union agenda all the time?” he asked.

Mr O’Leary went on to object to subsidies for businesses.

“Businesses should be competitive; services should be competitive; you can’t have one sector – RTE – being subsidised.

"But remember: if you sell off RTE that accepts that we can’t then subsidise Raidio na Gaeltachta which loses money hand over fist. And if Raidio na Gaeltachta can’t stand on its own two feet then frankly, it shouldn’t exist.

"The same with the Irish Chamber Orchestra or whatever else: if they can’t sell enough tickets; can’t get enough people to come hear them, then they shouldn’t be there, we shouldn’t be subsidising them as taxpayers.”