By Chris King • 15 March 2022 • 22:00
Image of Ryanair aircraft.
Image: Ryanair Press Office
Larysa Gerasko, the Ukrainian ambassador to Ireland, today, Tuesday, March 15, revealed that Ryanair has raised the cost of its flights while refugees are trying to flee the conflict in Ukraine. “Ryanair raised the prices and it’s unfortunate, and I’m waiting for a meeting with the Minister for Transport of Ireland”, she said.
A letter that was sent one week ago to Ryanair in protest of this price increase has yet to receive any reply, added Ms Gerasko.
During the European Union Affairs Committee meeting that took place at Leinster House today, John Brady the Sinn Fein Deputy reportedly suggested that charter flights should be made available from Poland.
This move was welcomed by the Ukrainian ambassador, commenting, “We would be very grateful for that, because it is very difficult to buy tickets from Warsaw or from Krakow to Dublin. And moreover, may I address this issue to Ryanair, because they raised the prices and it’s unfortunate”.
A Dail collection had been made to raise money for Ukraine last week by Sharon Keogan, the Independent Senator, who interrupted the dialogue with “That’s unforgivable. It’s actually unforgivable”.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, is currently out of the country on St Patrick’s Day duties abroad, but Ms Gerasko has a meeting scheduled with him on his return, during which she assured she would raise this issue.
“Unfortunately, our request, or our letter to Ryanair never received any response, I’d say, from Ryanair, because we sent this letter, it seems to me, one week ago”, she added.
Instead of raising prices in response to the refugee crisis, Fianna Fáil Senator Gerry Horkan insisted that Ryanair should now make flights available free.
“My understanding is that Ryanair was the single largest operator in Ukraine prior to the conflict. It flew more flights per day in Ukraine than Ukrainian International and with a much bigger fleet”, he highlighted.
Mr Horkan continued to point out that even though Ryanair is a successful commercial airline, “I think on this one Ryanair need to know when to step up, and when to deliver”.
The Senator said that Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary should be told that his company, owning more than 400 aircraft, “could provide services out of Poland, out of Romania, out of Moldova, to various European countries and other safe havens”. Mr Horkan added that these flights should also be free of charge.
“I don’t think it would be up beyond their capabilities to do that”, he suggested. “And I think a lot of us who do fly Ryanair, and who do use Ryanair, would appreciate right now if Ryanair could say, ‘Look, on this occasion, in this traumatic war situation’ that they would fly services at “zero cost”.
Senator Horkan added that he believes the governments of countries neighbouring Ukraine could easily offer “services at minimal cost, preferably zero cost, to bring people out of these countries”. Irish people find it impossible to believe that three million people would need to flee a country “with nothing except the clothes on their back and maybe a small suitcase and a couple of toys for their children”, he said.
“It’s just beyond comprehension that this can happen on the EU borders in the 21st century. And I think it would be good if that message went back from this committee to Ryanair and other airlines for that matter, but particularly Ryanair, who did a lot of business in Ukraine – and who hopefully will do a lot of business in Ukraine in the future when Ukraine rebuilds itself as a free, democratic, independent state”, as reported by independent.ie.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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