Taxi driver fury in Donegal

The spokesman for the Letterkenny Association has called on Commissioner for Taxi Regulation Kathleen Doyle to resign.

The spokesman for the Letterkenny Association has called on Commissioner for Taxi Regulation Kathleen Doyle to resign.

The call was made over what taxi driver’s see as the failure to clamp down on legal drivers and to resolve issues facing the crisis and follows the highlighting of irregularity in the industry by RTÉ Prime Time programme.

The government has launched a full-scale review of the industry following Monday night’s programme.

Hugh McFadden said legitimate taxi drivers are facing competition from illegal taxis and hackney drivers acting illegally.

Mr. McFadden said the main problem is a lack of enforcement. He called for the taxi regulator, Kathleen Doyle, to resign and for more enforcement officers to be appointed. The gardaí are not enforcing breaches of taxi regulations which include drivers with no NCTs and hackney drivers operating as taxis, he said. “The gardaí have enough to do,” he said. “Kathleen Doyle should bow her head and resign,” he said. “Every time she brings something in we have to pay for it and if we don’t have it we fail the suitability test,” he said.

He said taxi drivers in Donegal have been highlighting issues for years but the authorities have turned a blind eye. In one town in Donegal the illegal practice of hackney cars lining up on the main street goes on in front of the garda station, he said. The issues of illegal taxis and buses operating as taxis and illegal drivers trying to undercut regular drivers have been highlighted as issues over the last two years, he said. There is also a chronic shortage of taxi spaces in the town with only 26 to serve more than 130 taxis which operate on a Saturday night.

“I know for a fact that there people driving round the town in illegal taxis which have not done the NCT and have no plates, no licence, no PSV licence,” he said.

Five NCT operators have been suspended in Dublin over claims made by Prime Time that some NCT staff were knowingly allowing unfit taxis to pass tests. Mr. McFadden said he was unaware of any such irregularity at NCT centres in Donegal.

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