Thursday, 29 April 2021
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Taxi drivers have a number of simple demands, none of which have been met. They have asked for a financial package of supports to cover their fixed costs, which were estimated by the NTA a number of years ago at €11,000 a year. Those are debts they have been accumulating and they have been excluded from the schemes to support those fixed costs. They have asked for a moratorium on the issuing of licences. They have asked for the taxi advisory committee to be replaced with a body that allows them direct access to the relevant Ministers.
There are also other demands, many of which are non-financial. One such demand is to replace the rule requiring vehicles to be replaced after ten years with a rule stipulating 15 years, given that drivers have lost their incomes. None of those demands has been met and that is why the drivers were forced to organise a protest this morning. They have now had to call it off because, even though they made it clear they were going to comply with public health guidelines, they were threatened with fines, implications for the future licensing of their vehicles and the possibility of their leaders facing prison sentences or massive fines. Is that not political policing against taxi drivers? The same point could be made about what happened Debenhams workers last Thursday.