Thursday 19 September 2019

Suspect in case of shocking viral attack on taxi driver hands himself in to gardaí

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Stock picture

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

A suspect in the case of a shocking 'viral' video has presented themselves to gardaí.

The footage online 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.

Gardaí in Clontarf, Dublin have confirmed that they are investigating an alleged assault of a taxi driver. They said a suspect in the case has presented themselves at a north Dublin Garda station and gardaí are following a definite line of enquiry.

Gardaí said they will provide no further comment as the investigation is ongoing.

In the footage, a 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 on several occasions.

The man - who appears to be heavily inebriated - then proceeds to attack the driver him referring to him as a “f***ing c***” and punching him on several occasions.

The passenger then removes his seatbelt and accosts the driver, requesting that he gets out of the car while claiming to be “a police officer.”

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

It is understood the man is not a member of An Garda Síochána.

Derek Devoy, who founded Taxi Watch, a suicide prevention service run by his taxi drivers, said earlier he has been in contact with who he believes is the passenger today.

Mr Devoy confirmed to Independent.ie earlier that the man was due to go to a garda station on Sunday evening.

“I don’t want anything that will jeopardise his court case. I just want to get him to the Garda station and after that I’m finished," Mr Devoy said. “I spoke to him for an hour this morning. He’s 100pc remorseful but I don’t think that’s going to help him.”

Vincent Kearns, CEO 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 are 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.’

“On Friday and Saturday night when people are tanked on drink or drugs, that type of talk often happens in taxi.  Independent drivers working the street are at the highest risk.”

Mr Kearns added the majority of such attacks go unreported.

“If you’re out on a Friday or Saturday night driving your taxi and you call for Garda assistance, the likelihood is that they are pushed with more serious issues so the majority of these attacks are never unreported," he said.

“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.”

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