Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has called on the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, and the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to meet with representatives of the taxi Industry and An Garda Síochána to discuss ways of stopping a spate of new attacks on taxi drivers across the State.
In the Dáil debate the Sinn Féin TD outlined some of the horrific attacks on drivers and he said many of them were traumatised and lucky to be still alive following recent high profile assaults.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“There has been an upsurge in vicious attacks on taxi drivers in recent weeks and it is now happening on an almost daily basis. Taxi drivers have in recent days been stabbed, robbed, had syringes put to their necks, had equipment and cash stolen, been hijacked, had their cars burnt out, and many have been left lying unconscious at the side of road. One driver even had a noose put around his head.
“A 73 year old Dublin taxi driver was beaten up in Tallaght recently. He was stabbed and his car was later found burnt out. These attacks follow other high profile assaults on delivery drivers. Clearly new measures and additional resources to stop these attacks need to be adopted before a driver is killed.
“On Thursday evening in the Dáil I appealed to Ministers Flanagan and Ross to meet with taxi drivers and their representatives to look at practical measures that could be introduced to reduce attacks and safeguard drivers.
“Insurance costs for a taxi has trebled this year and if a cab is burnt out or a driver is injured there is no financial safety net applicable. In many cases traumatised and injured drivers have to return early to work to pay bills, put food on the table, and keep a roof over their heads.
“There have been reports in the media that some gangs were targeting taxi drivers through apps and based on their age or fitness profile. If this is the case then this needs to be investigated and safeguards introduced.
“I also asked the two Ministers to look at measures introduced in other jurisdictions that might help increase the safety of drivers.
“While welcoming the statement from Minister Flanagan that An Garda Síochána are conducting full investigations into each recent case involving assaults and robberies, more needs to done to reassure taxi drivers and to reduce and eventually end this recent upsurge of attacks on men and women who are providing a vital service for our communities.”