At Leaders Questions in the Dáil last Thursday, Independent TD for Sligo-South Leitrim, Michael Fitzmaurice, highlighted the attempts being made HynesQuinn Driving School to gain clearance to provide Transport Manager CPC courses.
Addressing Tánaiste Joan Burton, Deputy Fitzmaurice claimed these courses are being run by a “cartel” operating a closed shop and preventing competitors entering the sector.
“There is a cartel going on in the eastern part of this country, where companies who can give the same facility and offer those courses to people all over the country are being forbidden from getting into it,” he said.
“The Competition and Consumer Protection Commissioner has wrote to me and they have made it very clear they are very concerned [at] what’s going on.”
The Tánaiste responded by saying the Minister for Transport would be in a better position to answer the question but added: “I will undertake most certainly to have the matter examined and give you a reply.”
However, seemingly unaware of Deputy Fitzmaurice’s earlier statement, the Tánaiste went on to say, “You haven’t indicated if you’ve taken this matter to the Competition Authority.”
Deputy Fitzmaurice responded by asserting that, “The Consumer Protection Commission has said it’s wrong, what’s going on.”
“You have been to the Competition Authority - right,” the Tánaiste acknowledged. “I will take it up and come back with a response to you.
Speaking to the Longford Leader, Noel Quinn of HynesQuinn Driving School says he is expecting an answer in the Dáil this Thursday.
“You can never be confident of getting an answer but we won’t give up,” he stated. “I’ve met several obstacles in over 30 years in business and have overcame them all.”
The driving school owner explained that his company had slashed prices “by 70 per cent” for Driver CPC courses and could do the same for the Transport Manager category.
“I told her (the Tánaiste) in the corridor 15 minutes after [Deputy Fitzmaurice put his question to her] that we can create four extra jobs in the Shannonside region if she gets her act together and gives us what we’re entitled to. We’re looking for a level playing field.”
Mr Quinn concluded by saying, “It’s a sad day for Ireland if you have to go to court to get what you’re entitled to.”