Belfast Telegraph

Irish police insist taxi driver who admitted sexual assaults has lost licence

It follows claims that the man was still permitted to transport women in his vehicle.

A stock picture of the Garda badge logo (Niall Carson/PA)
A stock picture of the Garda badge logo (Niall Carson/PA)

Police in Ireland have insisted a taxi driver who admitted sexually assaulting three passengers has had his licence revoked.

The case has drawn widespread attention after reports of the legal proceedings stated that the man’s bail conditions allowed him to carry female passengers, as long as they do not sit in the front seat.

The issue was raised in the parliament on Thursday by Sinn Fein’s justice spokesman who branded the reported bail terms as “outrageous”.

Within hours the gardai issued a statement insisting the man’s taxi licence was revoked following his conviction in February.

A garda spokesman said: “In February of this year a male taxi driver pleaded guilty and was convicted in the Criminal Courts of Justice on three charges of sexual assaults.

“This case was remanded for sentencing on April 9.

“Following the conviction, Garda Sergeant Aoife Cronin… immediately referred the matter to the Garda Superintendent Carriage Office, Dublin Region.

“On the February 28 the small public service vehicle licence was revoked with immediate effect for this male driver.”

Earlier in the Dail parliament Donnchadh O Laoghaire described the case as “frightening”.

“How can anyone feel safe in a taxi, no matter where they are seated, that is being driven by a man who has pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault,” he added.

It is important that parents and young people can have faith that, when they get into a taxi, they are safe. Simon Coveney

“What mother or father would not be worried that this man could collect their daughters tonight.

“It is unsafe, absolutely wrong and our legislation should not allow it. It is frightening that such a man could drive a taxi in Dublin tonight.”

Before the garda clarified the issue, Tanaiste Simon Coveney said: “As a father of three daughters, it is important that parents and young people can have faith that, when they get into a taxi, they are safe.

“But I think I need to be careful about referring to any individual cases,” he added.

“It’s a serious issue and of course legislation should be tested and, if necessary, changed to ensure that people who are travelling in taxis are protected appropriately and people who are given a licence to drive taxis are appropriately vetted to make sure that, whether it’s women or men who travelling in taxis, are given the appropriate legal protections they deserve.”

He added that the Government is committed to preventing and addressing sexual abuse and gender-based violence.

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