Sunday 8 December 2019

'I'm wary every night getting into the car' - taxi driver feared he would die during attack

Paddy Boyle suffered facial injuries after he was attacked on a job
Paddy Boyle suffered facial injuries after he was attacked on a job
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A taxi driver who feared he would die during a terrifying attack has said that more must be done to protect workers in the industry.

Longford man Paddy Boyle suffered facial injuries and was forced to take a month off work after the violent incident.

He said that taxi drivers are regularly attacked, but most are too afraid to report the incidents to the gardai.

Paddy, who was attacked on Christmas Eve 2016, said that he now worries for his safety before every shift.

He told how he was due to finish work early on the evening when a woman asked him to collect her from a house in Lanesboro, Co Longford to bring her to a house in Ballyleague so she could pick up some presents, and then to drop her off in Drumlish.

Paddy said that he waited for 15 minutes for the woman to come out of the property in Ballyleague, when a man came out of the property and started shouting at Paddy.

He told the Longford Leader: "I was in the car and couldn’t get out of it; he had me pinned in.

"Then he grabbed the phone kit and made bits of it; he then started roaring and bawling like a young bull... he then proceeded to box the face off me.

"I tried to block him, and all of that continued for a good ten minutes."

Paddy managed to escape when a woman came out of a nearby house and distracted Paddy's attacker.

He reported the incident to the gardai and then travelled to the Midlands Regional Hospital, where he was treated for facial injuries.

Paddy, who has been a taxi driver for 25 years, said the attack has knocked his confidence and has made him more cautious.

He told "I'm wary every night getting into the car, especially when you're carrying young people who might have had alcohol or drugs taken.

"Most people you pick up are fine but you just never know who is getting into the car."

He said there aren't enough measures in place to help protect taxi drivers.

"I've heard of lots of taxi drivers getting attacked... a lot of people are afraid.

"Who is going to do anything to help us, the gardai don't seem to be interested, a taxi driver can't even defend themselves because if you do then you could lose your licence.

"The regulator can do nothing about it, it's the law and the taxi drivers themselves have to push these cases.

"You cannot carry any kind of weapon in your car, you're just vulnerable," he said.

His attacker Sean Munnelly pleaded guilty at Roscommon Circuit Court to assaulting Paddy and causing harm, to threatening to kill him and also two counts of criminal damage.

He was sentenced last week to three years in prison, with the final year suspended, and he was also ordered to pay Paddy €25,000 compensation.

Paddy said that he is happy with the sentence.

He noted: "It was my first time getting attacked, thanks be to God and I hope it will be the last.

"I was happy enough to see justice being done.

"In Dublin every night of the week you would have these attacks going on, it's going on in every small town.

"Most drivers are afraid to push it because you have people saying they know where you live and they threaten to burn you out, I'm not afraid of any man though."

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