|Deregulation nightmare for taxi
Examiner - 20-11-01
LARRY KELLY still remembers the day he bought his taxi plate in 1999. Back
then, his future looked secure. The 39-year-old remortgaged his house in
Raheny and got a loan that allowed him to fork out £75,000 for the plate.
He thought this licence would give him a job for life.
“I actually bought it off my father, because he was sick at the time and
had to retire. We were sharing the plate before that, but the time was
right and he needed the money. Just a year later, Larry’s world was torn
apart when the Government decided to deregulate the trade he had worked in
for the previous 14 years.
“Suddenly, everything changed. Before I could take the odd day off and
spend some time with my kids. Now, I’m working all the time, and I still
don’t have enough money.”
“My wife, Siobhan, had to go back to work because we were so short of
cash. My two girls Michelle, 12, and Lauren, 10, barely see us these days.
It’s just not fair.”
But Larry is still glad that he bought the plate from his father, who
could have been left with a worthless asset.
“He really needed the money and, if I didn’t buy it, he would have
nothing. He’s been in hospital a load of times since and I’m just glad
that he wasn’t the one who suffered.”
The year following deregulation has been a tough one for Larry who is
constantly under pressure to meet his repayments.
“My mortgage is £900 a month. I don’t know what I’d do if anything
happened to my car. I am just about surviving at the moment, but I have to
work every hour I can.”
There are worse cases, though. Larry said that his greatest concern is for
widows who were surviving on the profits they made for renting out their
late husbands’ plates.
“These are the real hardship cases and we must ensure that we get
compensation for these women. It’s still hard to understand why this
happened. There are no winners in this.”