Ireland to benefit from a "really hard Brexit" - O'Leary

The Ryanair CEO says "we should enjoy the entertainment and the spectacle that Brexit is bringing to us"

Ireland to benefit from a "really hard Brexit" - O'Leary

File photo dated 16/05/16 of Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary. Image: Stefan Rousseau PA Wire/PA Images

Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary has said he is hoping for a “really hard” Brexit and insisted the UK’s divorce from the EU will mean a big boost for the Irish economy.

Mr O’Leary was speaking at an event in Brussels where he was named one of Politico's 28 people who are “shaping, shaking and stirring Europe.”

Asked his opinion on the Brexit negotiations, Mr O’Leary said there is an “official line and an unofficial line.”

“The unofficial line is that I favour a really hard Brexit, because the British will realize a really hard Brexit will be so damaging to the economy - I suspect they will fudge it to the next general election in the UK,” he said.

“Then, God help us, we’ll probably have a Labour-Lib Dem government led by Jeremy Corbyn - who knows even less about Europe than the Brexiteers do.”

Mr O’Leary was chosen as one of the ‘Politico 28’ based on his outspoken views on Europe and what Brexit might mean for the EU.

A long-time critic of European bureaucracy he famously suggested - following the European Commission ruling that Ireland should collect €13bn in unpaid taxes from Apple - that the government should, “tell them politely to f**k off.”

However he came out strongly in support of a ‘remain’ vote in the British referendum, donning a suit with a mixture of British and EU flags and peppering his planes with the slogan, “Stronger, Safer and Better off in Europe.”

Speaking in Brussels last night, Mr O’Leary said he expects Brexit to provide a major boost for Ireland.

“The Irish economy will boom because we’ll be the only place the foreign inward investment wants to go to,” he said. “Business will work its way around the system, and we’ll all be fine in the end.”

Mr O’Leary said he is “very optimistic about the future of Europe” but warned it should re-focus on being a single market.

“I think we should enjoy the entertainment and the spectacle that Brexit is bringing to us,” he said.

He said UK politicians are making, “a complete balls of Brexit” because they “haven’t a clue what it is they are trying to do or achieve.”

Former UKIP leader, Nigel Farage was also in attendance at the event and Mr O’Leary didn’t fail to take a jab.

“Nigel will still be roaming around giving speeches, talking rubbish - but very plausible, very entertaining rubbish,” he said.