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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 2 October, 2014

The Briefcase: Ryanair’s aggressive moves, Brexit and Sean Dunne’s gaff

This was the week in business.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

IT’S DEJA VU all over again in the business world. Stop us if you’ve heard this before:

Michael O’Leary had a cut off Aer Lingus, the Government, and the bumbling bureaucracy that frustrates his every move. The IFSC was sniffing around for scraps at the table of international finance. Newspaper sales continued to decline.

That said, the devil is in the detail, so read on to find out just what happened this week.

Need to know

Ryanair steps up its campaign

Michael O’Leary was in flying form in front of assorted hacks in Dublin this week, where he announced new routes to Brussels. The Westmeath man is explicitly going after the Aer Lingus dominated route, claiming that he wants to win over 60% of the (primarily business) traffic to Brussels’ main airport.

Ryanair press conference. Ryanair CEO

Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Analysts endorsed the O’Leary strategy, although David Holohan from Merrion Capital pointed out that the airline could be a bit late to the party, with other budget carriers having moved into business travel first.

Either way, O’Leary wasn’t pulling his punches in a lively press conference. Unfortunately, we can’t always accommodate his liveliest quotes in the news, so here’s a selection that didn’t make the cut:

On his attempts to buy Aer Lingus:

We made a couple of attempts to buy a small Irish regional airline…but they’d prefer to get smaller.

On the Aer Lingus pension dispute:

It is a scandal that would only take place in a Government-controlled, failing airline…you have Brother (ICTU General Secretary David) Begg sitting on the board like the dead hand of the trade union…they threaten the occasional strike and the Government and the bureaucrats at the Department of Transport fall over themselves to make concessions.

On Albert Reynolds

We were certainly very proud of him and history will be very kind to him. In a short period he achieved a lot…setting Ireland on course for a relatively rapid period of economic growth.

…and on Bertie Ahern

If you could have visionary, dynamic and bold leadership like Albert Reynolds, or the 10 years of dither and fudge and buying off  the public sector and other stakeholders like Bertie Ahern…people would have him back in a flash

Get off the fence, Michael.

And while he was here, he even found time to take the ice bucket challenge


Our daily Brexit

Time was when Irish affairs were more frequent feature in the hallowed pages of the Financial Times – first positive, then overwhelmingly negative.

Despite the relative becalming of our economy at the moment, the pink paper still found space for a hefty report painting Dublin as the bogey-man of the international financial sector headquartered in London.

If the UK were to become a little bit less united through Scottish independence, and a little bit more isolated from Europe, several anonymous financial executives told the FT that they’d be upping sticks and moving to our Fair City.

We understand that there have indeed been overtures from officials to London players in the IFSC here, although sources cautioned that nothing was imminent and said that there is some way to go before we should expect to see the Goldman Sachs of this world on the Liffeyside.

Nice to know

Bailout Exit

Source: Eleanor Keegan/Photocall Ireland

Bertie At The Races

Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

  • And there was more pressure on the Government to ease off on austerity this week, this time from Goodbody Stockbrokers and economists at Investec.

Now you know

One for the road

This ship, operated by the Maersk cargo company, has set a new record for the most containers ever carried on a vessel. Impressive.


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