'Tough Christmas ahead', says Cork taxi driver

Cork Taxi Council Bobby Lynch said the loss of work as a result of the new restrictions have meant drivers are struggling to make ends meet
'Tough Christmas ahead', says Cork taxi driver

In a statement to The Echo, the Department of Social Protection confirmed that taxi drivers are eligible to apply for the reopend PUP payment

A CORK taxi driver has said he anticipates “a tough Christmas” for those in the industry following new Covid-19 restrictions which came into effect on Tuesday.

The measures, which are to remain in place until January 9, include the closure of nightclubs and a maximum 50 percent capacity at indoor entertainment, cultural, community and sporting events which must be fully seated.

Speaking to The Echo, chairman of Cork Taxi Council Bobby Lynch said the loss of work as a result of the new restrictions, coupled with the rising cost of fuel has meant drivers are struggling to make ends meet.

“Everything now is gone through the roof - insurance, petrol, diesel.

“It’s very tough on drivers, people have loans and mortgages to pay.

“It’s going to be a tough Christmas for everyone.” 

Mr Lynch said Cork Taxi Council had an inkling further restrictions could be imposed and had written to a number of Government Ministers seeking support for the industry.

PUP PAYMENT

Earlier this week, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) reopened on a limited basis for individuals, including self-employed people, who lose their employment on or after December 7 because of the effects of the additional public health restrictions announced last Friday.

In a statement to The Echo, the Department of Social Protection confirmed that taxi drivers are eligible to apply.

Speaking to The Echo, chairman of Cork Taxi Council Bobby Lynch said the loss of work as a result of the new restrictions, coupled with the rising cost of fuel has meant drivers are struggling to make ends meet. Pic: Larry Cummins
Speaking to The Echo, chairman of Cork Taxi Council Bobby Lynch said the loss of work as a result of the new restrictions, coupled with the rising cost of fuel has meant drivers are struggling to make ends meet. Pic: Larry Cummins

“These measures will have a particular impact on sectors such as hospitality, the night time economy, and the arts and entertainment sectors, and the loss of employment must be linked to the impact of the new restrictions.

“Individuals, including taxi drivers, who satisfy these criteria are eligible for the PUP,” the Department said.

“There is flexibility provided to the self-employed in receipt of the PUP to take up occasional or intermittent self-employment work while retaining their PUP.

“This measure has assisted people to maintain their business during the pandemic and provides that a person can earn up to €960 from self-employment over a previous eight-week period,” the statement continued.

FARES 'GONE WITH RESTRICTIONS'

Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, had previously urged the Government to ensure taxi drivers were eligible to apply for the reinstated PUP.

“The new restrictions on hospitality, nightclubs and events are going to have a major impact on thousands of taxi drivers across Cork.

“Many drivers depend on the late-night sector for a large portion of their business and these fares are now gone with the new restrictions.

“Many taxi drivers also depend on December business around the festive period, to carry them through the slower months of January and February.

“With concerts and other big events now being cancelled as a result of the new 50 percent capacity rule, this is going to impact taxis even further.

“It is essential that taxi drivers have access to the PUP when it is reintroduced for workers affected by the latest Covid restrictions,” he said.

He said taxi drivers have experienced a “horrible two years of business” with many leaving the sector for good.

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