Thursday 22 February 2018

Taxi drivers vow to ramp up protests if demands aren't met

Shane Hickey, Tim Healy and Ralph Riegel

THOUSANDS of air passengers and commuters face further traffic disruptions as militant taxi drivers threathen more protests next week.

Drivers are now saying there will be an "all-out protest" around the country if the Government does not agree to their demands for changes in the industry.

There were major disruptions at Dublin and Cork airports up to yesterday afternoon as drivers refused to pick up passengers.

Around 100 taxi drivers also picketed ranks at locations across Limerick city yesterday morning.

The continued protests by the Irish Taxi Council (ITC), which started on Monday, were condemned by business representatives who said they were hitting tourism and reflected a poor image of the country.

The ITC has 11 demands including a moratorium on the issue of new licences and more taxi ranks.

Last night, ITC head Frank Byrne said "thousands" of drivers attended a two-and-a-half hour meeting in the National Show Centre in Swords, Co Dublin, where they agreed to give Transport Minister Noel Dempsey a seven-day notice before further action.

Mr Byrne said members had agreed to end the protest yesterday and issue a notice for indefinite action around the country, probably beginning after St Patrick's Day. If the 11-point plan was implemented, he said "that will address the concerns of full-time taxi drivers for the immediate future". Meanwhile, in the High Court yesterday two ITC members -- Patrick Walsh and Thomas Barton -- undertook not to return to the offices of the Commission for Taxi Regulation where they had staged a sit-in on Monday night.

Irish Independent

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