Answered in Dáil
To ask the Minister for Transport the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway received such a small compensation as a result of their huge investment in purchasing a taxi licence just before deregulation was introduced; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the person is having to use social welfare payments to repay the bank; the way in which the small compensation payment was arrived at; the person who drew up the guidelines for the compensation scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Paul Connaughton.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 19th May, 2004.
(Mr. Mark Greaney, Caherlissakill, Monivea Athenry, Co. Galway).
Ref No: 14843/04
Answered by the Minister for Transport
The Taxi Hardship Payments Scheme is based on the recommendations and parameters set out in the Taxi Hardship Panel Report, as approved by Government.
The Taxi Hardship Panel was an independent three person panel established to report in general terms on the nature and extent of extreme personal financial hardship that may have been experienced by individual taxi licence holders arising from loss of income as a direct result of the liberalisation of the taxi licensing regime. It was made clear at the outset that based on legal precedent there can be no legal duty on the State to compensate taxi licence holders in relation to open market licence values that may have existed prior to liberalisation.
The Report of the Panel recommended the establishment of a scheme to provide payments to individual taxi licence holders who fall into one of six categories that the Panel assessed as having suffered extreme personal financial hardship arising from taxi liberalisation. The payments range from €3,000 to €15,000 depending on the category of hardship involved. The Government approved the implementation on a phased basis of these recommendations. The payments in question do not represent compensation but rather compassionate payments in respect of extreme personal financial hardship.
Area Development Management Limited (ADM) has been engaged to administer and manage the implementation of the Taxi Hardship Payments Scheme. The processing and consideration of applications under the Scheme is being undertaken by ADM independent of my Department and my Department has no details of individual applications made to ADM under the scheme.
However, I understand from enquiries made with ADM that a hardship payment of €10,000 under category 5 was made to a person with the name in question. This category refers to particular circumstances where large loan repayments are outstanding and these have been secured against a family home. The Taxi Hardship Panel Report recommended four specific levels of payment under this category to qualifying persons, ranging from €6,000 to €12,000 depending on the amount of the loan outstanding. I understand that the level of payment made to this person is appropriate to the amount of loan outstanding in this case.