Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, today called on the Minister for Transport to put proper supports in place for workers in the taxi industry.
His comments follow evidence given to the Special Covid Committee by representatives of the taxi sector.
Teachta O’Rourke said:
“The evidence given to the Oireachtas Covid Committee today clearly shows taxi drivers and the wider taxi industry have been forgotten by the Government during this crisis.
“Taxi representatives said they feel completely let down by the National Transport Authority and that the lack of state support is a serious issue for the sector.
“We heard that while the Chinese Embassy have donated PPE to taxi drivers, the NTA have not even provided clear guidelines on masks to drivers.
“The Committee heard about 23% of taxi drivers are aged over 66, while 15% of them are over 70 years of age.
“It was shocking to hear that older taxi drivers, the very people who should have been taking extra precautions during the pandemic, were forced back to work early as they were not entitled to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment based on their age.
“This is particularly concerning when you consider that wearing masks is still not mandatory in taxis, and the installation of Perspex screens is dependent on a driver having the money to install it.
“Taxi representatives themselves have brought forward numerous constructive proposals that they believe will help their industry get back on the road.
“The Minister for Transport needs to urgently engage with drivers and their representatives to address the myriad of challenges facing workers in the industry.”