Méid an Téacs

Glasgow cabbie’s rage at brothers’ cupla focail

Eanáir 10, 2014

A student teacher who was forced to get out of a Glasgow taxi for speaking Irish says he had assured the driver he wasn’t talking about him.

Anthony Blair (20) and his brother Joe (22) were in the Scottish city visiting their grandmother when a cabbie ordered them to stop speaking Irish.

Glasgow council are now investigating the taxi company after a race discrimination complaint by a cousin – Kathleen McAleer – who was also in the cab at the time.

“I was sitting with my back to the driver, in the back of the taxi, and I was just chatting to Joe,” said Anthony, a student at St Patrick’s College in Dublin and a native Irish speaker from Gweedore, Co Donegal.

“It’s just natural for us to chat in Irish. I asked the driver what he thought the fare would be and he told me and I turned around again to talk to Joe in Irish.

“The driver then said ‘ you can’t speak that language in my taxi’ and I was a bit stunned and I asked him ‘why?’

“He said we were talking about him and I assured him that we weren’t but he told us if we didn’t stop speaking Irish we should get out and that we were in Britain now and should be speaking English. So he stopped the car and told us to get out. “I believe he just didn’t want us speaking Irish and was nothing to do with us supposedly talking about him.”

Cousin Kathleen McAleer (21), who is from Glasgow, challenged the driver. “I told the driver he couldn’t behave like that and he said if you are in Britain you should speak English,” said the mental health nurse. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

Irish language enthusiast Dáithí Ó Sé hit out at the taxi driver. “Maybe he’s speaking a foreign language himself. They have their own language in Scotland (Gaelic) and he’s speaking English so I wonder did he ever think of it like that,” said the RTE presenter.

Hampden Cabs refused to comment but a spokesman had told the Glasgow Evening Times that a driver had been recently subjected to sectarian abuse on the night of a Pogues concert in the city.
But both Blair brothers weren’t even in Glasgow that night.

Said Anthony: “We were already home. This incident happened on a Sunday night and we flew home on the Monday. The incident referred to by the cab company happened on the Tuesday evening and we were back in Donegal by then.”