Monday 19 August 2019

Man who claimed to be a guard quizzed over vile racist attack on taxi driver

Stock Picture
Stock Picture

Micheál Ó Scannáill and Conor Feehan

Gardaí have questioned a man after a shocking video of a racist attack on a taxi driver went viral.

The footage shows a man racially and physically abusing a taxi driver, and has been shared widely on Twitter over recent days.

It is understood the incident was recorded on Easter Sunday night in Dublin.

The man - who is sitting in the front passenger seat - is seen shouting "what's your favourite position?" in the face of the driver, before referring to him using a racial slur numerous times.

The man then proceeds to attack the driver, referring to him as a "f***ing c***" and punching him on several occasions.

The passenger, believed to be from Kerry, can then be seen to remove his seatbelt and accost the driver, requesting that he gets out of the car while claiming to be "a police officer".

However, gardaí have confirmed the suspect in the case is not a member of the Garda.

The video has been shared hundreds of times on social media with the original poster requesting help in identifying the passenger.

Derek Devoy, who founded Taxi Watch, a suicide prevention service run by taxi drivers, yesterday said he had been in contact with the man who he believes was the passenger.

Mr Devoy confirmed the man was due to go to a Garda station yesterday evening.

Gardaí later confirmed in a statement that they had questioned a man.

"Gardaí in Clontarf are investigating the alleged assault of a taxi driver that occurred at approximately 10pm on the Malahide Road, Donnycarney on April 21," the statement said.

"A suspect in the case has presented themselves at a north Dublin Garda station and gardaí are following a definite line of enquiry.

"Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact Clontarf garda station 01 6664800 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111," said a Garda spokesman.

Gardaí have said that as the investigation is ongoing, they would not be commenting further at this time.

Vincent Kearns, chief executive of Xpert Taxis, has worked as a taxi driver and was vice president of the National Taxi Drivers Union. He said that incidents like this were not uncommon for taxi drivers.

"It's horrific. It's a difficult one to handle. I spent most of my life as a taxi representative, the head of a union and even now I run a taxi company with over 500 drivers.

"If I get a driver, whether it be a Nigerian driver or an Indian driver, someone who is easily identifiable by race as not being Irish, I ask them if they have ever suffered any type of racial abuse. The majority of them say, 'nothing too serious, but yes'.

"There are no statistics on how frequently this type of abuse happens, but I can tell you, it's frequent enough. I've certainly heard of many cases of it," he said.

Irish Independent

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