Ryanair apologises for blocking media from attending AGM

FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair airplane taxis past two parked aircraft at Weeze Airport, near the German-Dutch border, during a strike of Ryanair airline crews, protesting the slow progress in negotiating a collective labour agreement in Weeze, Germany, September

By Conor Humphries

DUBLIN (Reuters) -Ryanair apologised on Thursday for blocking media access to its Annual General Meeting, saying it happened by mistake, but said it would continue to prevent access to one journalist from an Irish newspaper.

Reporters who understood they were being brought to the Annual General Meeting room, which is normally open to the press, were told they were being brought to a media room instead for a post-AGM briefing by Chief Executive Michael O’Leary.

After the conclusion of the meeting, O’Leary apologised to journalists saying his team had “mishandled” the situation and promised a more detailed explanation later.

All resolutions at the meeting were approved, Ryanair said, with 96% backing the remuneration policy and 100% backing the company’s annual accounts, the airline said.

Most of the board was re-elected by at least 85% of shareholders, though two former senior Ryanair executives, Howard Millar and Michael Cawley were backed by 72% each.

Proxy advisory firm PIRC has questioned whether former executives can provide independent oversight. O’Leary said he did not agree and said the two gave management “the most grief” of any board members. He said he had no plans to replace either.

O’Leary defended a decision to bar John Mulligan, a journalist for the Irish Independent, who he said had “misreported” on the company in the past, a charge Mulligan has repeatedly rejected as baseless.

The Irish Independent quoted the National Union of Journalists as saying that any attempt to dictate who covers a story would be unacceptable and pointed out that a complaint by Ryanair against the newspaper in 2019 had been rejected by Ireland’s Press Ombudsman.


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