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Are you wrong there Michael?
Eamonn McCann throws down a challenge to Ryanair.
Eamonn McCann, 11 Mar 2004
You know those double-dumb questions you sometimes have to answer to qualify for a TV or newspaper promotional “competition”? Which they have to ask to pretend that this isn’t a random raffle but a “test of skill”? Thus: who is known as the King of Rock and Roll – Mickey Joe Harte, Dame Vera Lynn or Elvis Presley? Here’s another one.
There are two campaigns on the go around Derry to do with the demolition of homes. People living around Donnybrewer Road 10 miles out of town are up in arms about a plan to flatten their homes to make way for a longer runway which Ryanair demands to service a new fleet of ’planes due for delivery next year.
Local residents have laboured mightily to produce an alternative plan involving a realignment rather an extension of the existing runway. This would deliver the runway which Ryanair demands, but would take longer to construct than the company would like. So, Ryanair has rejected the alternative scheme.
Meanwhile, residents of the Glen Court flats in Rosemount are desperate to have the complex demolished. The place is a dump, stairwells stinking, sewage seeping through ceilings, youngsters with nothing else to do gathering noisily every night and unnerving the elderly. The residents have lobbied the local council and the Housing Executive and have taken an number of imaginative initiatives to bring their case to the wider public.
My own involvement in the campaigns tells me that we have majority backing in the town on both issues. But that’s not the basis of the question.
The question is this: which group of residents has been told that their homes are definitely to be reduced to rubble before the summer is out and that they’d better start making alternative living arrangements pronto? And which that they’ll have to continue living in shit for the forseeable future?
There. Told you it was a no-brainer.
Incidentally, Michael O’Leary’s number two, Conal Henry, travelled to Derry recently to speak at the north west bankers’ annual dinner. The main target of a reportedly undisciplined rant was myself. Politically-motivated wrecker, stirring up decent people to object to the homes they’ve lived in for generations being flattened to facilitate Ryanair’s business plans. The bankers must do all in their power to counter this malign influence.
As you’ll imagine, I took all this as more accolade than insult. But I’d have preferred Henry to have delivered his thoughts to me personally. So, if he – or his publicly-subsidised boss O’Leary – fancies a public face-to-face on these matters, I do not believe we would have difficulty finding a suitable venue in the Derry area or attracting a middling-sized audience.
Will Ryanair respond? Another no-brainer.