Michael O’Leary and Ryanair have flown to the rescue of St Patrick’s Day tourists and taken court action against a strike set to cripple Ireland’s airports next Friday.
The Ryanair boss has teamed up with his arch enemies in the Dublin Airport Authority in the legal bid to stop the threatened strike.
Industrial action by airport staff and Aer Lingus is set to cause chaos for St Patrick’s Day revelers at the start of the holiday weekend.
But the Irish Independent reports of fresh hope the proposed strike action at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports on St Patrick’s weekend can be averted.
Both Ryanair and the Dublin Airport Authority have sought separate High Court injunctions to prevent the four hour peak time strike by members of trade union SIPTU.
The paper reports that the stoppage threatens to cause disruption for St Patrick’s weekend travelers, for rugby fans traveling to Paris for Ireland’s crucial game with France and for race-goers traveling to and from Cheltenham.
The Ryanair applications for the injunctions are due to be heard on Monday with the DAA’s application down for Tuesday.
A Ryanair spokesman said: “SIPTU’s action is unlawful, unfair to our customers and an unnecessary burden on this island economy.”
The company’s lawyer Martin Hayden told Justice Paul Gilligan in court on Friday that the proposed strike action by SIPTU was ‘opportunistic in the extreme’.
He said the strike would result in the airports being shut down during one of the busiest weekends of the year.
Hayden added that the date had been chosen to cause maximum harm and damage to innocent third parties in what is a private dispute.
The Irish Independent reports that Ryanair has sought an injunction preventing action at all three airports as the stoppage would affect almost 100 Ryanair flights and 13,500 passengers.
Ryanair has asked the court to declare that the trade union is acting unlawfully because such a stoppage constitutes a wrongful interference with Ryanair’s economic rights and business interests.
The Dublin Airport Authority has said it has ‘no choice’ but to seek the injunction in the High Court as it claimed SIPTU had ‘failed to respond positively to two separate communications requiring the threat of industrial action to be lifted’.
The DAA application said: “DAA is seeking an injunction on the basis that the proposed action by SIPTU is unlawful, as it is contrary to the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act.
“SIPTU only balloted a portion of its membership on the proposal and the planned work stoppages are also contrary to existing agreements between the company and the trade union.”
The proposed strikes have been heavily criticised by the Irish government and tourism chiefs.