Sinn Fein TD for Kilkenny Carlow
Sinn Féin TD for Carlow Kilkenny Kathleen Funchion has criticised the lack of action from Minister Eamon Ryan on vital supports for taxi drivers.
Teachta Funchion’s comments come as taxi representatives met with TDs from across the political spectrum to highlight the huge challenge they are facing as a result of inadequate supports for their sector.
Teachta Funchion said:
“Covid-19 has severely impacted the income of taxi drivers in Carlow and Kilkenny and many are struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, they have been completely forgotten about by this government.
“Taxi drivers had planned to hold a ‘Ply for Hire’ in April, but they were forced to postpone this after Gardaí warned they would be fined, prosecuted and have their licences threatened. This, despite being in their own cars and looking for work.
“These workers should not have to protest for proper supports over a year into this pandemic, but the Minister for Transport has completely failed the sector.
“Taxi drivers don’t just need financial assistance, but also regulatory reforms that will help them weather this economic downturn.
“Drivers have highlighted that the only tailored support they have received to date, has been the waiving of a €150 fee for the suitability licence renewal.
“This is pitiful, especially when you compare it to the grants of up to £3,000 that have been made available to taxi drivers in the north of Ireland.
“An extension to the nine-year rule must also be introduced, as taxi drivers with vehicles approaching this age are not in a position to buy a new car after over a year of no work.
“Taxi drivers have been left behind by this government and Minister Ryan, and it is imperative they are now supported to ensure they can get back on the road when restrictions are eased.”