Tens of thousands of spectators attending next month’s Ryder Cup could face transport chaos due to a strike by taxi-drivers, it emerged today.
Tommy Gorman, President of the National Taxi Drivers Union, said there would certainly be disruption during the international golf tournament at the K Club in Co Kildare after up to 1,000 taxi-drivers in Dublin voted to strike.
Minister for Tourism John O’Donoghue said industrial action could be extremely damaging to the country but the unanimous decision at last night’s meeting is likely to be ratified by the executives of the three main taxi unions within the next 48 hours.
Mr Gorman said drivers were angrily opposed to new proposals to overhaul the industry put forward by regulator Ger Deering.
“There certainly will be some upsetting of the Ryder Cup. We have a mandate for that now from that meeting and obviously we’ll have to act on it,” he said.
“I hear that John O’Donoghue, the Minister for Sport and Tourism, is concerned about it. He certainly would want to talk to some of his constituents in Tralee and Killarney and look at their position and look at what they’ve been left with as a result of this new regulation coming in.”
Drivers also voted to refuse to pay Dublin Airport Authority an annual €500 fee to use the airport taxi rank, which is to replace the current 70c facilities charge per fare.
The Taxi Drivers’ Federation, the National Taxi Drivers Union and SIPTU claim that drivers face losses of €4,500 a year when the new fares are introduced in September.
Opposition is strongest in Dublin over the scrapping of luggage charges and the special fee for pick-ups at Dublin Airport.
Taxi-drivers staged two 24-hour stoppages over the past four weeks as part of a campaign against the new arrangements.
The Ryder Cup is expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors each day of the tournament, which pitches the leading golfers from Europe against their American counterparts, at the K Club in Co Kildare, some 18 miles from Dublin, from September 22 to 24.