Glasgow taxi driver alleged to have kicked passengers out for 'speaking Irish'

Glasgow taxi driver alleged to have kicked passengers out for 'speaking Irish'

A GLASGOW taxi driver is under investigation for allegedly ordering two brothers out of his cab for speaking Irish Gaelic in his car.

Donegal natives Anthony, 20, and Joe Blair, 21, claim they were “kicked out” of a taxi in the city after the driver told them “it is English you speak in here”.

“This was racist in every sense of the word,” an outraged Anthony told The Irish Post.

“I’m fairly confident it was discrimination against Ireland rather than anything else.”

Referring to claims that anti-Irish sentiment is accepted too readily in Scotland, Anthony added: “This would never happen to a Spaniard or a Pakistani or an Indian.”


The young man’s allegations have sparked outrage among Irish people in Glasgow, with scores flocking online to urge the community to boycott the taxi firm responsible.

Glasgow City Council has also responded by launching a probe into the allegations.

Meanwhile, the Donegal men’s mother has demanded an apology for what happened to her sons.

“We will not take this lying down,” said Anne Blair, 56, who was born in Glasgow and lived there until she was 30.

She added: “There is not much racism in Glasgow, it is mostly just anti-Irish racism and it is not taken seriously at all.”

Anthony and Joe were paying a pre-Christmas visit to relatives in the Scottish city when the alleged incident took place in the early hours of Monday, December 16.

anthony blair-n Anthony Blair

The brothers got in the Hampden Cabs car after a relaxed evening with friends and family, but Anthony claimed things turned sour once they started to converse in their native tongue.

“My brother said ‘Find out how much it is going to be’ in Irish, so I asked the driver before telling my brother and then we continued to chat away in Irish as we normally would,” he explained.

“But then the driver stopped me and said ‘You cannot speak that in here’. I said ‘What?’ and he said ‘It is English you speak in here.’

“So I responded, ‘Excuse me? I was speaking Irish and I am from Ireland’. But he said ‘You cannot speak that in here.’”

The alleged row then grew, involving their cousin Kathleen McAleer, 21, who was also in the car.

She claimed the driver said: “When you are in Britain, it is English you speak.”


The driver then claimed he believed the Irish men were talking about him in their native tongue, Anthony said.

When he refused to believe their claims to the contrary, the brothers said they would get out if the Irish language bothered him so much.

“So he did, he stopped the taxi and he threw us out,” Anthony added.

The Irish Post contacted Hampden Cabs, but was told that the firm could not comment on the allegations at this time.

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: “A complaint regarding an alleged racist incident has been received and will be investigated in the appropriate manner by the council’s taxi enforcement team.”