Statement – Senator Pascal Mooney on taxi drivers

Show Racism the Red Card statement on Sen Pascal Mooney’s comments today
A year ago, Darren Scully had to resign as Mayor of Naas Town Council, after his position became untenable when he declared that he would not represent constituents from black African backgrounds.
Today Pascal Mooney took it a step further in his comments in the Senate where he declared that he would not be discriminatory but that he would not be using taxis driven by what he calls ‘non national’ drivers.
He said: ‘ I’ve been in taxis and I have to say, and I am not being discriminatory here, but it’s nearly always non-nationals.  And it’s got to the point where, quite frankly, and I make no apologies for it, that I will now go to a local driver in preference to somebody who’s a non-national – an obvious non-national, and that has nothing to do with the colour of their skin or anything of that nature’.
In a later statement he said: ‘It’s come to my attention that remarks I made about non- nationals during my contribution on the Taxis Regulation Bill 2013 earlier today have been misinterpreted’. He added: ‘I wish to unreservedly withdraw the remarks and apologise for any offence caused.  I fully acknowledge the contribution of non- nationals to the life of Ireland and I clearly stated at the time that my remarks should not have been misinterpreted as discriminatory to anyone’.
No misinterpretation of remarks
Co-ordinator for Show Racism the Red Card Garrett Mullan said this evening: ‘It seems as though Senator Pascal Mooney will need to make yet another statement of clarification.  While on the one hand he says he is not being discriminatory, on the other he says he will choose a ‘local’ driver over an obviously non- national.
At this point, I would state that the number of people who can be described as non- national is extremely small to the point of insignificance.  We can assume he is talking about drivers who are non- Irish born.
If he is to stand over his statement that he would choose a ‘local’ over a non Irish national, that would be racism and discriminatory action on his part.
If we were to infer that Senator Pascal Mooney would not have an issue with a non-Irish taxi driver, that would be somewhat welcome, if only normal.  However his second statement does not clarify this matter.
His second statement states he withdraws his remarks but states: ‘It has come to my attention, that remarks have been misinterpreted’.
There can be no misinterpretation of comments that are now on the Senate record’.
Mr Mullan added: ‘It is unfortunate that the issue of racism as it affects the taxi trade was not addressed in this legislation.  We have many reports of customers skipping by cars, as Pascal Mooney suggested he would do, to avoid obviously non-Irish drivers.  De-regulation of the taxi trade led to an explosion in the number of drivers.  This measure happened when Senator’s party was in government.  One affect of this was to make earning living in the taxi trade a lot more difficult, to the point where drivers are working excessively long hours just to earn a living.  As to the issue of the issue of driver standards and knowledge of geography, if this is regarded as essential to the trade, which is reasonable, then it should apply to all drivers’.
Mr Mullan concludes: ‘Non Irish nationals represent over 10% of Ireland’s population.  They work in different areas including the taxi trade and they have the right to work without being subject to discrimination.  There have been repeated reports about how racism affects the taxi trade produced by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, NUI Galway and other media reports.  It would be more helpful to the taxi trade if politicians sought to address this issue, rather than exacerbating it with their own anecdotal notions’.

Racism in the Taxi Trade -NUI Galway Report on Racism in the Taxi Trade
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