Northern Ireland news

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary asked to come before Dáil committee amid claims of price hikes for Ukrainian refugees

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary. Picture by Jonathan Brady, Press Association

RYANAIR chief executive Michael O'Leary has been asked to come before a Dáil committee amid allegations his airline has hiked the price of flights for Ukrainian refugees leaving Poland.

Northern Ireland’s honorary Polish consul Jerome Mullen, who is helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland, yesterday told The Irish News the price of flights was "shameful".

He said his Ukrainian daughter-in-law's family were "charged the earth" for their Ryanair flights – £335 per person for a one-way ticket.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko told TDs on Tuesday that Ryanair had increased ticket prices for refugees.

"Ryanair raised the prices and it’s unfortunate, and I’m waiting for a meeting with the minister for transport of Ireland (Eamon Ryan)," she said.

Sinn Féin TD John Brady said allegations of hiked ticket prices are a "very serious matter".

"With three million people fleeing Ukraine, with barely the clothes on their backs, the accusation that an Irish airline would seek to take advantage of the situation is something that would certainly stick in the craw of the vast majority of Irish people," he said.

"Particularly when we consider the incredible efforts being made across the country to raise funds, and to provide accommodation for Ukrainian refugees."

The Dáil's EU Affairs Committee is writing to Mr O'Leary to seek clarification on ticket prices.

"The Committee will also be writing to the Transport Committee asking that the CEO of Ryanair be brought to appear before the Committee to answer questions in relation to these allegations," Mr Brady said.

Hungarian airline Wizz Air is offering 100,000 free flights throughout March for Ukrainian refugees and reduced fares for Ukrainians that are stranded in other locations.

Ryanair has been contacted for comment.

:: The Irish News has partnered with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) – which brings together charities including Concern Worldwide, the Red Cross and Save The Children – to raise money for refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Donations can be made at justgiving.com/fundraising/inews, or TEXT AID to 70150 to donate £10 plus your standard network charge.

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