New taxi licence laws are defended


The Government introduced taxi regulations in response to an increasingly urgent public need and taxi drivers knew for some time that the market was to be liberalised, the High Court was told yesterday.

In an affidavit, Mr John Weafer, a principal officer in the Department of the Environment and Local Government, said the public interest outweighed any prejudice sustained by the drivers.

Taxi licences had a value simply because there had been a restriction on licence numbers.

Mr Weafer was giving evidence for the State in proceedings by taxi operators against new regulations for the industry introduced by the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Mr Bobby Molloy.

Last October the High Court rejected another taxi licensing scheme introduced last January. The taxi drivers have appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. The appeal has yet to be heard.

The hearing continues today.