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Taxi driver who received late-night call from minister questions his version of events

The Taoiseach has defended Dara Murphy after two gardaí drove him from Cork to Dublin Airport.

Image: Twitter

THE TAXI DRIVER who received a phone call from Dara Murphy looking for a lift has questioned the junior minister’s version of events.

The European Affairs Minister was heavily criticised after it emerged two gardaí in Cork drove him over 200 kilometres to Dublin for an early-morning flight.

The Fine Gael minister sought help after his car broke down on the motorway outside Mitchelstown at around 3am on 13 September.

Murphy, who was travelling with his wife Tanya, was on his way to to Dublin Airport to catch a 6.40am flight to Brussels for an EU meeting on the refugee and migrant crisis.

Taxi driver Gerdy Murphy told Saturday with Claire Byrne he received a call from the TD but initially turned down the run, stating: “I was concerned of driver fatigue, I had been working that night.”

He said he tried but failed to secure another driver.

The driver, who pointed out the two are not related, said the minister had offered to drive part of the way if he became too tired.

‘Too expensive’

Murphy said the TD told him he would “make alternative arrangements” when he was informed the journey would cost a minimum of €300.

According to reports in the Irish Daily Star and Irish Examiner, the minister contacted gardaí in Fermoy and two on-duty officers drove the minister to Dublin Airport – a 214 kilometre trip.

Speaking to RedFM News, the minister denied that he refused the lift because it would cost too much.

I think there was a fare mentioned but by the time he would have come out we were already well gone by the time he came back, whether it was him or someone else who came back. Actually, I’m not sure.

The taxi driver said he doubted gardaí were already on the road with the minister when he called back, adding that he would have met them nearby to complete the journey.

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On the same programme, Murphy’s government colleague Alex White said it might occur to him to have called gardaí if his car broke down in the middle of the night, but he’d try to get a taxi first.

He added that he didn’t know too many people who would pick up the phone at 3.30am.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny defended Murphy to RTÉ saying it was an emergency situation and gardaí had offered to help.

TheJournal.ie has contacted Murphy for comment.

Read: The curious case of the Fine Gael minister, the broken-down car and 214km garda dig-out

Read: ‘For too long the reality of abortion has been hidden’: Thousands expected to attend pro-choice march

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Órla Ryan

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