‘You could charter a helicopter for less’ – tourist quoted €51,350 for nine-day Irish car hire

A shortage of fire cars has pushed up prices. Photo: Stock image

Lucy Thackray© Independent.co.uk

Car hire rates have rocketed since the travel slump of the pandemic – as one tourist found out on a recent trip to Ireland.

Former Leitrim councillor John McCartin said his brother-in-law was quoted in excess of €50,000 for a nine-day vehicle rental.

He told Ocean FM the price was an “embarrassment” to the country.

“He’s coming to Ireland and decided that he would book a car to bring him and his family around the countryside and he was charged something like €51,350 for a car - the use of which he’ll only have for nine days,” said McCartin.

“You could buy the same car for around €45,000, so clearly, we acknowledge that there are supply chain issues and there’s a scarcity of cars at the moment, but clearly these companies have the policy that they are going to charge the maximum they can get from anybody who is desperate for the use of a vehicle.”

Mr McCartin did some research on the “extortionate” fare and found that his brother-in-law could have rented a helicopter for less.

“I Googled to see if you could charter a helicopter and discovered that for around 200km a day it would be in the region of €3,500, which is a far cry over nine days from €51,000 my brother was quoted for the use of a nine-seater car.”

He did not reveal the location or name of the rental company.

Car rental rates shot up during the pandemic, as firms slashed their fleets and sold off cars at knock-down prices. As demand has risen for rentals in recent months, fewer old cars are available and fewer new cars can be delivered due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.

It’s not the first time this has happened.

In May, an American tourist was quoted €10,000 for a three-week hire.

“Honestly you could ship my own car there and back (for the same price),” Oisin Hayes, from Philadelphia, he told RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live show.

Meanwhile, in early June, a Turkey-based woman travelling to Dublin shared her quote of €18,703 for a week’s hire, saying she initially assumed the figure was in Turkish Lira.