Dublin taxi protest blockade lifted


O'Connell Street in Dublin has reopened to traffic tonight after being closed in both directions for several hours due to a large protest by taxi drivers from around the country.

More than 150 taxis parked along both sides of O'Connell Street earlier in protest at what they claim are worsening working conditions.

The protest also spread along the north and south quays and traffic throughout the city was badly affected for several hours.

Gardaí said tonight the taxis are still on the street but the road has been reopened to traffic. 

Gardaí warned that they expect major traffic disruption in the area from 7.00am tomorrow when the taxi drivers resume their protest. A spokesman said the drivers indicated they would try to block O'Connell Street again.

The Taxi Drivers for Change group objects to what it says is a lack of regulation in the sector, which has seen taxi numbers in Dublin city rising to more than 16,000 in recent years.

Gardaí have warned motorists of disruption on the M7, N7, M4 other routes approaching the city centre.

The Commission for Taxi Regulation today said it "acknowledges that taxi drivers are operating in a competitive market" but that "the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry is now working within a liberalised market and there are therefore no quantitative controls on the number of operators".

It confirmed that it had received advice from the Advisory Council to the Commission for Taxi Regulation following the conclusion of the Goodbody Economic Review on a number of proposed further reforms for the industry. The reforms will cover a number of areas including vehicle and driver licensing, and enforcement.