Mary Hanafin, the Irish Minister for Tourism, has suggested the car rental industry in Ireland should employ a range of quality used motor vehicles in order to cover the anticipated shortfall in hire cars this summer season.

Speaking at the Irish Parliaments question time session, Ms Hanafin pointed out that whereas in the past the car rental industry had always prided itself on being able to offer the latest new release models, the economic downturn had resulted in a new approach being necessary to satisfy both demand and cost requirements.

With many car rental fleets slashing their numbers in the grips of the recession last year, coupled with the recent trend towards downsizing family and commercial vehicles, Hanafin claimed that garages and dealerships were now inundated with quality second-hand vehicles – all of which would be a perfect solution to the potential difficulties forecast for the upcoming holidays. Ms Hanafin also suggested that, due to their lower costs in terms of VRT, the car rental industry would further benefit from the introduction of low CO2 emission vehicles.

However, Olivia Mitchell from Fine Gael claimed that reputational damage could result from such a move, pointing out that such practises were uncommon in Europe, and that Ireland may do irreparable damage to its tourism industry if travellers are given less than quality options. Hanafin responded that a good quality used car would be a far better option than no car at all, and that there would be no need for any additional funding of the industry to implement such a move.