As someone who is clearly very proficient in business, Michael O’Leary knows better than anyone how important it is to get one’s priorities in order. It’s how he’s gotten so far in life. Which makes his bizarre comments on the unvaccinated this week all the more baffling.
Speaking to the Telegraph this week, O’Leary said that the government should “make life difficult” for those who are unvaccinated without a good reason, in an effort to twist refuseniks’ arms into compliance.
🔴 Exclusive: Only vaccinated people should be allowed to fly, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said, as he launched a blistering attack on “idiot” anti-vaxxers.@ojngill reports https://t.co/zEXcp3FznN pic.twitter.com/3XuNerDmWs
— Telegraph Business (@telebusiness) December 17, 2021
He proposed everything, from banning the unvaccinated from public transport, to banning them from their work, hospitals, and everything in between.
“If you’re not vaccinated, you shouldn’t be allowed in the hospital, you shouldn’t be allowed to fly, you shouldn’t be allowed on the London Underground, and you shouldn’t be allowed in the local supermarket or your pharmacy either,” he said.
“You can sit at home and get your deliveries of medicines and food. But you should not go to work or go on public transport unless you have a vaccine certificate.”
He even said he’d be happy to forbid the unvaccinated from flying with airlines such as his own, saying: “I have no difficulty in saying to people, you can fly, but you have to be vaccinated.”
“We recognise the rights of everybody to decide not to get vaccinated if you so want.
“If you personally object to vaccination, because it’s some huge government or big pharma conspiracy, apart from the fact that you would be plainly an idiot, we respect your right to be an idiot.
“The huge majority of the population that has done the sensible, the caring, the protective thing for the community and gotten vaccinated, should not be restricted.
“But governments should place increasing restrictions [on the unjabbed], while recognising the rights of everybody.”
So in other words, the government should totally deprive people of the right to live like normal, dignified human beings based on their personal medical choices, “while recognising the rights of everybody.” I’m not quite sure how that’s supposed to work, but there you go. Talk about doublespeak.
As an attempt to justify this bizarre hostility towards the unjabbed, O’Leary said:
“I don’t think that governments should permit those people who are not vaccinated to go and infect everybody else.”
This statement is just, frankly, dumb. And it’s uncharacteristically dumb from someone who should know better.
Surely, Michael O’Leary is aware by now that the vaccine does not prevent the spread of Covid-19. Literally nobody important claims it does – not the vaccine manufacturers, not the World Health Organisation, not NPHET or the HSE or the government, or any other official source you could name.
Covid: Double vaccinated can still spread virus at home https://t.co/s3ZMJIzKKI
— BBC Health News (@bbchealth) October 28, 2021
Omicron was first detected in four fully-vaccinated individuals, as admitted by the Botswana government, where the strain originated.
— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) November 25, 2021
Not only that, seven triple-vaccinated tourists caught Covid in South Africa recently.
— gript (@griptmedia) December 10, 2021
These are far from the only examples – Google “vaccinated catch Covid” and you’ll find endless articles from all over the world in the same vein, from mainstream sources like RTÉ and the BBC.
In fact, a good recent example of this is, as it happens, Eamon Ryan – a man who has spent his entire tenure as Transport Minister taking a sledgehammer to O’Leary’s industry.
On the 12th of December, earlier this month, Ryan received his booster vaccine. He’s three doses into this thing – fully-compliant with all the requirements.
Very glad to get my booster shot in city west this morning. In and out in just half an hour. As usual a fantastic team at the centre, doing lifesaving work for us all. Thank you @HSELive #getyourbooster #covid19 pic.twitter.com/YC5Knpfa8F
— Eamon Ryan (@EamonRyan) December 12, 2021
And yet, guess what happened mere days after his third dose?
He got Covid, and now has to self-isolate to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan tests positive for Covid-19https://t.co/21ggQGq9XL
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) December 19, 2021
It’s not the unvaccinated who are “infecting everybody else,” therefore, despite what O’Leary suggests. Everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, is infecting one another.
So why exactly do we need to “make life difficult” for the unvaccinated again? Why are we persecuting this section of the population in particular?
But this all gets stranger again.
Just days after O’Leary made these comments, the following headline dropped:
“Ryanair doubles annual loss forecast over Omicron”
Ryanair has more than doubled its annual loss forecast and cut its January traffic forecast by 33% due to the impact of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. https://t.co/j33ekN5LQI
— RTÉ Business (@RTEbusiness) December 22, 2021
As RTÉ reports:
“Ryanair has more than doubled its annual loss forecast and cut its January traffic forecast by 33% due to the impact of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
The airline, which is Europe’s largest by passenger numbers, said in a statement that it expects a net loss of between €250 million and €450 million in the 12 months to the end of March.
That compares to a previous forecast of a loss of between €100 million and €200 million.”
Now, let’s make one thing clear: Omicron, for the most part, has not caused Ryanair’s financial losses.
Sure, there are some people who are deathly afraid of Covid, and would not fly because of the new variant. But a large part of the financial damage is coming from European governments imposing restrictions, and media scaremongering whipping people up into a panic over the new strain.
BREAKING New #Omicron study in Scotland and it looks like good news. ‘Early national data suggests that Omicron is associated with a two-thirds reduction in the risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation when compared to Delta.’ Experts from Edinburgh & Strathclyde Uni.
— Nichola Kane (@NicholaKane_) December 22, 2021
Omicron on its own appears massively overhyped – South Africa, which has a far lower vaccination rate than Ireland, has seen its hospitalisation rate plunge 91% according to Bloomberg, even as Omicron surges.
Cases going through the roof in SA but hospitals numbers dropping. Same thing happening here. The new milder varient is giving us a way out but NPHET acting like it’s doomsday. The party is over Tony, go home https://t.co/8qPe27EMFM
— Colm Parkinson (@Woolberto) December 17, 2021
So it’s not Omicron that’s battering the airline industry. It’s the government, with their new policies surrounding more stringent testing requirements, and the EU telling us that double jabbed people’s travel certs are about to expire unless they get the booster. Those are the people who are doing a number on O’Leary’s company.
Covid: EU vaccine passports only valid 9 months without booster https://t.co/xSnvXDAQcz
— Hindustan Times (@HindustanTimes) December 22, 2021
But have we heard any screeds about how the Irish government and the EU are “idiots”? Sure, he’s been critical of the government throughout all this, but we haven’t seen anywhere near the level of vitriol directed at the government as at the unjabbed.
As my father often told me growing up, in life there are tasks that are urgent, and there are tasks that are important – and those aren’t always the same. It’s an essential life skill to be able to tell what is the most pressing issue right now, and what can be dealt with later.
For someone in the aviation industry like Michael O’Leary, the most pressing issue right now by far is dealing with a government which has spent the last 2 years tap-dancing on his company’s windpipe.
Effectively telling hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated potential customers to piss off does not help your business. They are not the people who are hammering your income into the ground.
Many willingly unjabbed people are refusing the vaccine specifically because they hate the government’s economy destroying restrictions. They don’t want to participate in a hysterical fear campaign which is ruining the financial future of businesses like Ryanair. And for the crime of opposing these destructive measures, Michael O’Leary decides to give it to these people with both barrels, while comparatively letting the government off the hook. It’s nuts.
A healthy dose of perspective is needed here, and businesses like Ryanair need to wake up and realise where the real threat to their future lies.