Taxi-drivers are harassing newcomers - gardai
By Judith Crosbie
GardaÍ have received anonymous complaints that taxidrivers with new licence
plates are being intimidated by more established taxi-drivers.
Sgt David Coughlan of the Carriage Office, which assesses cars for taxi
eligibility, said they had received three or four calls from people who said
they had been intimidated or harassed. A garda said over the weekend he saw
taxi-drivers being "slagged" who had received new licence plates after
last month's deregulation. "They were slagging, beeping the horns and
giving the fingers," he said.
New licence holders can be identified by the number which appears on the roof
of the taxi. Dublin Corporation has issued 50 new licence plates from up to
Without formal complaints the gardaí said they could not make any
prosecutions. "Unless they are prepared to give their names and addresses
we can't take it any further," Sgt Coughlan said.
As a result the calls were being taken as "rumours", but Sgt
Coughlan said the gardaí were making their own inquiries.
"People are getting into the business and they don't want to make
enemies . . . they would have to stand up in court and identify the
person," he said.
But taxi-drivers' unions said they had not received any complaints about
"We had these sort of scurrilous remarks about meter fitters some weeks
back and none of them were substantiated," Mr Gerry Brennan of SIPTU's taxi
driver branch said.
He said many people with new plates were known to existing drivers as they
had rented taxi plates up to now. "They are friends, they sit together on
ranks, they have coffee together up at the airport," he added.
Mr Vincent Kearns of the National Taxi Drivers' Union said he heard only
rumours about intimidation. He said drivers with new licence plates might be in
the NTDU and so intimidation among members would be unlikely.
"Nobody in my union will intimidate another member in the union. We just
wouldn't tolerate it," he said.
Mr John Ussher of the Irish Taxi Drivers' Federation said he had not heard of
any intimidation. "We certainly don't want anyone intimidated and we
certainly hope it doesn't happen," he said.
By the end of next week, Dublin Corporation expected to issue between 150 and
200 new taxi licence plates, Mr Owen Keegan, director of traffic, said. About
half of the new licence plate owners were either hackney drivers or taxi-drivers
who had rented licence plates, he said. The others were new entrants to the
Mr John Ussher of the Irish Taxi Drivers' Federation has not heard of any