asked the Minister for Transport and Power if it is a fact that Córas Iompair Éireann has decided as a matter of policy to engage in the hiring of chauffeur-driven cars; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Hiring of Chauffeur-driven Cars by C.I.E.
I am advised by C.I.E. that the Board has for some time past been operating a chauffeur-driven limousine hire service of limited extent. The Board regards this service, which is being operated as an adjunct to its hotels and coach tours business, as a legitimate part of the field of activities with which it is concerned in catering for the tourist trade.
Is the Minister satisfied that this extension of chauffeur-driven cars is a legitimate operation for C.I.E. in view of the fact that it is State-subsidised and that this service is already adequately catered for by taxi owners and by self-driven hired cars which are available and which, indeed, are competing rather keenly for the available trade?
I am satisfied that it is not doing any harm to the private interests and that it concerns tours arranged for private individuals who do not wish to travel in a coach but who wish to take C.I.E. tours; and it is of limited extent and that any increase in it relates only to the general increase in the turnover of the whole business. I do not think there is any need for the Deputy to have any undue worry as to its effect on the car rental business as a whole. I do not think under any circumstances could it interfere unfairly with the private car business.
Surely, if C.I.E. was not engaged in this operation either taxis which would be available for hire or hire-drive cars which are already available from private sources would have this trade. Now C.I.E. are competing with the tourist trade and, so far as I am aware, the existing operators are anxious to do, not less business, but more business and if there were more tourists they would be prepared to serve them.
I do not think there is any difficulty in the way of the private car doing more business.
Could the matter not be raised on Deputy Corry's question this evening? It could be.