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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK
Ryanair faces legal row over ad
By Adam Easton
BBC News reporter, Warsaw

Ryanair plane taking off
Ryanair appeared to shrug off the threat of court action
A Polish MP is taking legal action against Ryanair over an advert that suggested she was having a romance with the country's prime minister.

Jolanta Szczypinska wants an injunction to stop the newspaper advert for low cost flights from Poland being printed.

The ad shows a picture of the two sitting together under the headline: "Are they planning a honeymoon trip?"

Rumours of a romance between premier Jaroslaw Kaczynski and Ms Szczypinska have been rife in the Polish media.

The MP has neither confirmed nor denied the claims, while the prime minister has remained silent on the matter.

'Scandalous'

The airline did not seek permission to use the image of either the MP or prime minister which shows the pair sitting next to each other in parliament.

In a cartoon speech bubble, the prime minister asks: "Shall we take the government plane?"

Ms Szczypinska replies: "There's no need, Ryanair guarantees the lowest prices."

Ms Szczypinska - a member of the prime minister's governing Law and Justice party - has called the advert a "scandalous, illegal and unlawful usage" of her image.

A spokesman for the prime minister, said Mr Kaczynski considered the ad "improper", but that he would not be taking legal action.

The 57-year-old prime minister has never married and lives with his elderly mother.

In a recent interview he surprised many here when he admitted he does not have a bank account and gives his salary to his mum.

Legal threats

Meanwhile, Ryanair appeared to shrug off the threat of court action.

"We always welcome decisions by politicians to sue, but she would save a lot of time and money if she opted instead to take a break with one of our 10 fares," a spokesman said.

It is not the first time the Irish airline has been threatened with legal action by politicians.

In April last year, Sweden's Prime Minister, Goran Persson, said he was suing Ryanair for using his face in an advert which asked whether it was "time to flee the country?"

Ryanair has also used images of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in previous campaigns - without complaint.


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