Thursday 19 September 2019

'The city centre is like a warzone' - taxi drivers speak out about threatening behaviour after racist attack video goes viral

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Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

DUBLIN taxi drivers took to the airwaves to complain about the rise in anti-social behaviour threatening their safety, with one labelling the weekend in the city centre: “a warzone.”

Several cab drivers told Joe Duffy on RTE One’s Liveline their lives were becoming increasingly difficult with an increase in anti-social behaviour, drink-fuelled thuggery and the formation of young gangs across the city.

They were speaking after video footage emerged of taxi driver Samuel Johnson being racially abused and assaulted by a passenger.

Taxi driver David Hynes said: “The city centre on a Friday or Saturday night is no place for anyone to go - it’s like a warzone.

“You have to be careful who you pick up and I’m not driving into Adamstown, they (gangs) are physically trying to take taxi drivers out.”

Another caller, Damien, told how two weeks ago a 70-year-old driver had been “dragged and beaten” from his car. 

“His car was burned out,” Damien said.  He went on to claim there had been at least five attacks on Dublin taxi drivers in April, adding that one assault had taken place last weekend in Jobstown, Tallaght.

“The driver was attacked and beaten,” Damien said.  “He tried to take his car, they grabbed his money. It’s got worse than it ever was.

“I also witnessed an attack. My passengers asked me to stop at an ATM in Fairview.

“A young fella was walking up the street with his girlfriend eating chips.  One of them just punched him. I’ll never forget the lad lying on the ground.

“They jumped back into the car saying 'did you see that lads?' to the other passengers.

“What could I say?  I drove off. They were four thugs, I’m on my own.”

Drivers complained there had been a growing number of gangs forming in city suburbs, including in Lucan, and one stated a gang of six youths had tried to hijack his car while he was parked after dropping a fare off.

He managed to drive off, with one youth still clinging to his door but he eventually let go.

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