Taxi and hackney drivers in Clonmel are having their livelihoods threatened by rogue drivers, it was claimed at this month’s Clonmel Borough Council meeting.
Independent Cllr. Gabrielle Egan said that a lot of taxis in the town were “sick to death” of rogue drivers taking work from them at weekends and busy holiday periods.
She said the fear is that these drivers are not correctly insured to carry members of the public, nor do they have the correct licence.
She also said that members of the public could be at risk of “assault or rape” because these drivers are illegal and undocumented.
She has called for the Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and the Garda Commissioner to be questioned about what is being done to prevent these illegal drivers operating in urban towns, before there is an accident or a serious assault.
Clonmel Gardai have been informed of this issue, she said, and while guidelines are to be published soon in relation to the part-time use of cars in rural areas she is concerned about people who work 24/7 in the town.
Cllr. Billy Shoer said that these part-time, illegal, drivers come in at weekends and are “taking bread from people’s mouths”.
Mayor Pat English also said that he had received a number of calls from professional drivers about this issue.
Cllr. Egan’s motion will be sent to the National Transport Authority (NTA), which is repsonsible for all SPSVs (Small Public Service Vehicles). An advisory committee on SPSVs gives advice to the NTA on issues regardings SPSVs and their drivers.
This groups consists of representatives from the taxi, hackney and limousine industry, local authorities, An Garda Siochana, the tourist industry and disability action groups.
The Council will request a response from the NTA. Town Clerk Ger Walsh said that all drivers should have identification on display and Gardai can deal with those who do not.