Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Taoiseach): Statements
Richard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
Companies that are giving massive dividends to their shareholders, making big profits and who are big multinationals are benefiting from these schemes, as I raised with the Minister for Finance yesterday, whereas the arts get €1 million. It is a stark contrast.
The taxi driving industry has been absolutely decimated, with 70% to 80% of people off the road. The Taoiseach may be interested to know that of the few taxi drivers who are still on the road, many are over the age of 66. This is because the Government has denied them the Covid-19 payment. They are the most vulnerable group of taxi drivers but they are on the road because the Government will not give them the Covid-19 payment.
As a result of this industry's link to mass gatherings, sports, tourism and the arts, which is similarly devastated and will be for the foreseeable future, they are in deep trouble. I am asking again for a specific package of financial supports for taxi drivers, that the Covid payment be extended to taxi drivers who are over 66 and that it be retained as a minimum subsidy for taxi drivers, but that they be allowed to continue to work to top it up until their industry recovers at some unknown future point. Will the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport agree to meet representatives from the different taxi representative groups who are coming together as we speak and who want to discuss with him the specific packages and supports they need to keep 23,000 taxi drivers with some sort of livelihood for the future?