Immigrant taxi drivers singled out for refs?
2017-12-01 17:05:00 -

By Chinedu Onyejelem

Immigrant taxi drivers have expressed concerns over claims that their applications for new licences are being treated differently than those for native Irish drivers.


The appeal comes amid allegations by a number of people that immigrants applying for new a taxi licence are being requested by the Garda to supply two references to support their application.


Metro Éireann is aware that applications from some immigrants were not accepted by the Garda on the grounds that they must include references from “medical doctors and priests” if the licence is to be approved.


Under the National Transport Authority (NTA) guideline for an SPSV driver licence, applicants must meet a number of criteria, including “a declaration that your health does not materially affect your ability to drive an SPSV, and that you are not taking drugs or medication that would be likely to impair your ability to drive safely.”


Applicants must also sign a statement that they have “not been convicted of any of the offences specified in section 30(3) or the Schedule to the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.”


However, the NTA also states that applicants must submit “any other documents requested by An Garda Síochána”. It is believed that the Garda requested the references based on this.


Speaking on condition of anonymity, a number of taxi drivers told Metro Éireann that the request was unusual, and might be considered a means of reducing the number of immigrant taxi drivers. 


Some taxi drivers said they do not recall submitting references before their current licences were granted.


“Not everybody in this country knows a doctor or a priest [that can give such a reference],” one driver added.


At press time, a spokesperson for the Garda told Metro Eireann: “We do not have a response from our traffic department yet.”


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