Mike Harding the English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet, broadcaster and multi-instrumentalist has messaged us on our Facebook Page, giving his experiences of renting a car in Ireland when he travels to his house in Cleggan, Co Galway
Dear Senior Times,
This is it I thought – third time lucky – I’ll hire a car from Knock Airport to get me to my house in Cleggan for a short week’s break at the end of January. Went online – picked the car – a small runabout. Smashing, cheap deal for a week, put in my age – 79 – suddenly the car vanished.
“The car you are looking at is no longer available” the screen said.
The ageist Fairy had waved her magic wand and de-materialised €25,000 worth of Korean engineering.
So I tried again and this time lied about my age – said I was 60. No worries – straight to payment – how many cars did I want?
Now the last time I mentioned this on my website the very nice man who chairs the association of car rental organisations in Ireland wrote a very nice letter explaining that I was mistaken that ageism does not exist in Ireland and that there are more cars than I can shake a walking stick at, falling from car hire trees just waiting for me to pick them up.
Well my wife tried and failed in Spring this year and I’ve just tried and failed again – I can only conclude that this is discrimination by reason of age.
This year I have driven from North Yorkshire to Cleggan, Connemara twice in a Kia Electric car, and driven from North Yorkshire to the South of France in a 2008 Beetle convertible. I have been driving since my late teens, have a clean licence – good health (as in no medication) and am still working as a writer – my new book The Lonely Zoroastrian has just been published and is doing well.
So let’s get this right – if WB Yeats went online and tried to rent a car to get him from Knock to meet Maud Gonne under Benbulbin for a bit of rumpy pumpy he would have to go whistle Dixie because Ireland is no country for old men – or women too by the sound of it.
Yours in the last stages of anger and disgust
Cleggan Co Galway.