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This is frightening stuff, we’re all on edge, says hackney driver

TAXI and hackney drivers in Clare are fearful for their safety after it emerged that robbery was the apparent motive for the vicious murder of a colleague over the weekend. As gardaí appealed for witnesses in their investigation into Liam Moloney’s death, other drivers have expressed concern.

“This is frightening stuff, we’re all on edge. We don’t know whether this was a random attack or whether it was planned. Either way, as long as I am in the job, I have never been this worried,” one driver said.

While detectives are keeping an open mind on the motive for the murder, they suspect robbery was the main reason.

Asked how much cash the victim might have been carrying, one colleague said it could have been anything from 50 to several hundred euro. “Who knows? He might have had very little on him which makes this murder all the more frightening. How desperate were these guys?” he asked.

Irish Taxi Drivers Federation president John Ussher said: “Every taxi driver is in fear in Ennis, because the person or persons who did this are still out there.

“Two previous murders of taxi drivers in Galway and Limerick remain unsolved so I would be urging members to co-operate with the gardaí.”

Anyone who was near Ennis Cabs in the Market, Ennis, or who got a hackney from the company between 6pm and 7.15pm on Friday is asked to contact gardaí. They also want to hear from anyone who saw a vehicle being parked at the entrance to Port House at Porte, Ruan, between 7.10pm and 9.50pm that night.

Mr Moloney’s body was found dumped behind a tree by the side of an avenue which leads to Port House, near the village of Ruan, four miles from Ennis.

Gardaí said the victim had received “extensive head injuries”. It is also known that the deceased’s throat was cut during the vicious attack but no weapon was found at the scene. Deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis carried out a preliminary examination of the body at the scene yesterday afternoon and a full post mortem took place at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital last night.

Meanwhile, a post-mortem was due to be carried out this morning on the victim of a fatal stabbing in Waterford city, where gardaí were questioning a suspect last night.

Brian O’Neill, an 18-year-old from Ardmore Park in Ballybeg, died in hospital after a row spilled out of a house in Woodlawn Grove near Waterford Institute of Technology around 4am yesterday.

A tarpaulin covered the blood-spattered ground in front of the gate of the terraced house where he had been a guest at a party near his home.

The victim was known to gardaí and had appeared in court on a number of occasions, mostly for public order offences.

A neighbour said: “Nothing like this has ever happened before and we never expected it to come so close to us.”

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