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Taxi driver in coma after city attack

A CAB driver was clinging to life today after being savagely attacked in central Dublin overnight.

The seriously injured man (41) was in a coma and being treated at Beaumont Hospital for severe head injuries.

The attack apparently occurred in a row over a fare.

Sources said that it was "touch and go" whether the driver will survive following the vicious assault at around 12.30am outside Pearse Street library in Dublin.

It is understood the driver was struck a number of times by his attacker who fled the scene on foot.

The incident was witnessed by a number of people who contacted the emergency services.

Sources say that when an ambulance arrived at the scene, the taxi driver was conscious.

However when he was brought to St James' Hospital, the victim's condition deteriorated and medics are now "extremely concerned" for his welfare.

The victim is believed to be originally from Nigeria.

Gardai will investigate if there was any racist aspect to the assault. However, at this stage it looks like the row was over the fare.

A source explained: "This incident happened on the road outside the library.

"When gardai arrived the victim was out of his taxi - he is in a very bad way now.

"A witness has reported that the assault stems from a row he was having with a passenger over a fare."

No arrests have been made so far but a detailed investigation has been launched.

Gardai from Pearse Street Garda Station are investigating the assault and and anyone with any information is asked to call them at 01 666 9000 or any garda station.

When contacted by the Herald, Irish Taxi Drivers Federation president John Usher said: "This seems to be a particularly serious incident but unfortunately there seems to be an incident every night and these incidents are on the increase.

"When people who are involved in these types of incident are brought to court, judges need to hand out harsh sentences for those guilty of attacking taxi drivers."

The scene remained sealed off this morning pending a full technical examination.