'price gouging' | 

American tourist quoted €10k to rent car in Ireland says 'I could ship own car here and back'

Oisin Hayes, from Philadelphia, went online to book a car rental for three weeks from mid-July to August

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Allison Bray

An Irish American tourist has spoken of his shock at being quoted a fee of €10,000 to rent a car in Ireland for three weeks this summer.

Oisin Hayes, from Philadelphia, said he went online to book a car rental for three weeks from mid-July to August and was told the only car available that would suit his family of four was a luxury car that would set him back €10,000.

"Honestly you could ship my own car there and back (for the same price),” he told Claire Byrne on RTE One’s Claire Byrne Live last night.

Fortunately, Mr Hayes, who has family in Ireland, said he has other options with friends and family here who are able to help him out.

But the astronomical cost of not only hiring a car – due to a shortage of supply – but accommodation here this summer was laid bare on the programme.

RTÉ looked at online quotes to rent a family car for a week here this summer and found the fees quoted were off the scale.

To rent a small or compact car would cost €1,059, while an estate car was going for €2,377 and a large estate car would cost €5,688.

"That’s price gouging,” said Fianna Fail senator Timmy Dooley.

The programme also heard how a two-night stay at a hotel in Dublin is now going for €700 compared to €450 for two nights in Paris.

And a scroll on Booking.com revealed that the only accommodation available in the capital this weekend was a two-bed hostel room priced at €818.

"That’s crazy,” said the former TD from Co Clare.

He said the astronomical cost for car hire and accommodation here this summer is “damaging to Ireland’s image abroad.”

He said the government “has to engage with the sector” in order to bring prices down to affordable levels.

"There’s a lot of leverage the government has,” he said.

"It’s not just damaging their business but it’s damaging Ireland’s reputation.”

Meanwhile, travel broadcaster Fergal O’Keefe said the pent-up demand for international travel following the pandemic has led to hefty increases in prices.

He advised people looking to travel abroad this summer to “look for places off the beaten track” and to haggle with short-term letting operators like AirBnB to see if they can get a better deal.

He also suggested booking accommodation directly with a hotel instead of using booking websites to see if there are any discounts on offer.

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