A taxi driver claimed junior minister Dara Murphy declined a taxi ride because of the cost of the fare on the night that the Fine Gael TD had two on-duty gardaí drive him from Mitchelstown, Co Cork, to Dublin Airport.
Jerry Murphy’s account of what happened in the early hours of Sunday, September 13, directly contradicts Dara Murphy’s version of events.
The Cork North Central TD initially said there were no taxis available when his car broke down on the M8 Cork to Dublin motorway.
Speaking on local radio stations yesterday, he said that by the time the offer of a taxi came, he was already being driven by the gardaí.
However, Jerry Murphy, who operates a cab and minibus firm in Mitchelstown, disputes the statement.
He says he received a call at around 3.15am from someone who had broken down between the M8 exits for Mitchelstown and Kilbehenny.
He said he was worried about the time and driver fatigue, and was unsure if he could take the job. The man he spoke to on the phone offered to drive. He called colleagues before returning the man’s call at 3.21am.
“I rang him back, again he said to me about driving, that he’ll drive. I said I’ll do it, that I’d go out, I’d have a look at his driving licence and if he had a B licence, he would be covered to drive my vehicle under my insurance.”
It was then, he said, he told the party the fare would be €300-€350. “He said to me: ‘Would it be that much?’ and I said yes. He said: ‘We’ll leave it so.’ The taxi was available and the bottom line was it came down to that.”
However, speaking to RedFM, Dara Murphy denied turning down the taxi because of the fare. “I think there was a fare mentioned but by the time he would have come out we were already well gone by the time he came back,” he said.
In response Jerry Murphy asked why the fare was discussed during the second call if he had already left. “It wasn’t a case that he’d be waiting an hour or two, because I was less than five minutes away from him,” he said. “Why didn’t he tell me that? If that was the case, why did he say that there was no taxi available?”
Speaking in New York last night, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “My understanding is that the gardaí offered to help [Dara Murphy].”
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