Ryanair accuses government of “fraudulent diversion” of EU environment funding to support high emission school transport scheme

Ryanair said it was “deeply troubling” how EU funding to tackle emissions was being used to shore up unprofitable school bus routes and with no transparency over how the rest of the money was spent.

In letters to the Department of the Environment, the airline claimed the way in which the government had used an estimated €485 million in funds generated from an EU scheme was a “scandal”.

In an astonishing attack, they accused the department of a “fraudulent diversion” of 76% of the environmental funding to Bus Éireann.

The airline said the bus company’s fleet was “extremely emission intensive” and claimed the funding was simply being used to prop up an unprofitable semi-state.

They also lambasted the department over their explanation of where the other 24% in funding went after being told it had gone on “Climate Finance”.

In correspondence with the department early last year, Ryanair’s Director of Sustainability and Finance Thomas Fowler said: “This lack of transparency under a green minister [Eamon Ryan] is inexplicable and unacceptable.”

In response, the department said they did not accept the assertions made in the letter and that Ireland was “fully complaint” with its requirements.

It said funding the school transport scheme was an eligible category for expenditure and that it provided critical transport for almost 120,000 students, including 16,000 with special education needs.