‘Budget took our money willingly’

LEAVING Cert student Gillian Griffin paid a €100 deposit for her summer holiday at 2pm at Budget Travel yesterday.

The travel agent took her money and told her she’d be in touch. At 2.30pm news broke that the business had gone into liquidation and the shop doors on Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork were shut for good.

Gillian was planning to travel with 95 other Mount Mercy students to Ayia Napa in August after the Leaving Cert.

The students were told by Budget Travel to have their deposits paid by yesterday. At a cost of €600 per person, the total cost of this trip would have been €57,000.

“The lady at Budget Travel took our money willingly and said she’d contact us in a few weeks about the holiday.

“I’m not sure what we’re going to do now. My friend went in at 3pm and the doors were locked but it’s just so annoying that we’ve paid the money.

“We’ve been trying to get through to the helpline but it’s just ringing out,” she added.

Gillian is one of hundreds of people affected by the closure of Budget Travel. There are 747 people abroad and just over 400 people were expecting to jet off over the next few days.

The company assured its customers yesterday that anybody that paid money would be refunded.

The company also met with the Aviation Regulator last night to work out a plan to get those that are abroad home.

Budget Travel was started by Irish Life and Permanent chairman Gillian Bowler in 1975.

Ms Bowler set up the firm in a basement office with two telephone lines promising value for money. By 1984, 25,000 customers travelled with Budget earning the business €8 million.

Three years later Granada bought Budget and it changed hands a number of times before Primera bought it in September 2007.

Two years ago, Budget sold more than 300,000 seats; next year it was expecting to sell just 130,000. Budget has been hit by people booking holidays online.

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence

HOME DELIVERY SERVICE

Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.