Uber committed to Ireland despite regulatory battle

Uber is confident of its future in Ireland and remains fully committed to its Limerick centre despite a legislative impasse that has halted the introduction of its services here.

The San Francisco-headquartered company cut the ribbon on its €4m Limerick base in January but has encountered regulatory roadblocks in its efforts to launch its ride-sharing service since entering the Irish market.

New accounts filed for Uber Technologies Ltd highlight the uncertainty its regulatory battle has created for the company here.

“The significant risks and uncertainties impacting the business of the company relate [to] the acceptance by customers of the company’s products which is dependent on general market conditions and the positioning of those products,” the directors state in their report.

However, they say they expect the business to expand here. The company recorded a profit for the financial period to the end of December 2015 of €33,271.

Its turnover for the year — arising from the provision of services to another Uber group company — amounted to €579,229 while Uber Ireland incurred administrative expenses of €534,413.

Uber Ireland general manager Kieran Harte said the accounts paint a positive picture of the company’s future in Ireland, saying it remains fully committed to its Limerick operations.

“These latest accounts show that as a business we have grown, so we’re confident about our future here,” said Mr Harte.

“We’re fully committed to Limerick and the team on the ground there are doing a fantastic job.”

Uber allows unlicensed drivers to carry passengers who hail a lift via its app. In this way, it differs from competitors like Hailo which utilises the existing network of taxi drivers.

While Uber is operating a limited version of its service in Dublin using taxi drivers, it has been unable to gain approval for unlicensed drivers to join its network of drivers.

Briefing documents prepared for transport minister Shane Ross in May advised that facilitating Uber would require a complete overhaul of existing taxi, hackney and limousine regulation.

Mr Harte said that Uber remains engaged in “positive discussions with all stakeholders with regards to the framework needed to scale the business in Ireland”.


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