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Donegal brothers thrown out of cab for speaking Irish

A Glasgow taxi driver has had his license suspended for one month after he ejected two men from his cab because they were speaking Irish.

The incident took place in December last year, when Co Donegal brothers Anthony and Joe Blair were in Glasgow to visit their grandmother.
Anthony Blair, thrown out of Glasgow taxi for speaking Irish.
The two men had been out with their cousin, a Glasgow native, and her friend. The four hailed a cab to take them home for the night.

The two brothers began speaking to each other in Irish, and claim the driver told them “to stop speaking in that language and that it was English spoken in Britain and if we wanted to speak that then we could get out”.

The driver then stopped the car and ordered the party out, leaving them to walk home.

The brothers made a complaint against the driver, and he has now lost his license for a month and been ordered to attend a customer care course.

Joe Blair, 22, said: “Myself and Anthony began chatting in Irish as we normally do but the driver seemed to have a problem with this.”

However, the driver, Alan McKinnon had a different version of the incident. He claimed that the men were singing Celtic songs, and when he asked them to stop they replied: “You must be a hun then.”

Hun is an old word used in the past by Catholics in Ireland, a derogatory term for a British person or Protestant.

Mr McKinnon said he felt threatened and thought the men were talking about him, and deliberately speaking in Irish so that he couldn’t understand. He asked them to stop speaking in Irish and as they refused, he stopped the car and ended the fare.

His solicitor defended Mr McKinnon to the court: “He’s appalled to be in front of you today. He has three children and his livelihood is at stake. He is very aware of the serious nature of this matter, which could destroy his career.”

But the court ordered that he have his licence suspended and attend the customer care course.

Anthony and Joe Blair both denied using the word ‘hun’. Anthony added: “I was not looking for anybody to lose their job or anything like that. An apology would have been far better.”

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