A DUBLIN taxi driver who was beaten and kicked in the head by two passengers has described the horror of the vicious and unprovoked attack.
Feargal MacEoin suffered mental and physical scarring after a gratuitous attack by James Murphy (20) and Dean Daly (19) over a €26 fare.
Last Friday Mr MacEoin's attackers walked from court with a suspended jail term. Now their victim has told the Herald how the attack has changed his life for ever.
Mr MacEoin said: "I'm not the person I was. There's less life in me. It was a very nasty attack. It was so prolonged.
"I still work the taxi at night but I am afraid to pick up fares and even drive around looking for the perfect safe fare."
Mr MacEoin from Castleknock picked up the men outside a nightclub off O'Connell Bridge and took them to Alderwood Drive, Tallaght.
When they arrived at their destination one man said they needed to go and get the fare from his mother and the taxi driver asked them to leave a mobile phone for security.
The pair became aggressive and abusive and Mr MacEoin rang gardai to say he was in trouble. When the driver tried to restrain one of the men, Daly grabbed him and started punching him.
The men knocked the driver to the ground and began kicking him around the head. They then took his phone and wallet.
Mr MacEoin only remembers parts of the attack but says he is haunted by the sound of one of the men laughing during it.
"I was going in and out of consciousness. At one stage one of the men stuck a €10 note in my mouth. He was laughing as he did it," Mr MacEoin said. "It was still in my mouth when the ambulance arrived."
Some of his front teeth were knocked out and he suffered fractures to his his face. The choir singer had to get metal plates surgically inserted into his face and his singing has suffered as a result.
But despite the savage attack, he said he is glad the two men didn't go to jail, and he accepts their apology made in court. "Maybe I will forgive them in time," he said.
Murphy, of Alderwood Rise, Springfield, Tallaght and Daly, of Maplewood Park, Tallaght both pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm at Alderwood Place, Tallaght on April 28, 2012 and to robbery of a mobile phone, a wallet and cash.
On Friday, Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended a sentence of three years. She said she had to have regard for their youth and the fact that neither had any previous conviction.
By Declan Brennan