Taxi driver protest highlights suicide rate

 

A LUNCHTIME protest was held by a group of taxi drivers yesterday to raise awareness of the rate of suicide within the industry.

Michael Blanch of the Taxi Drivers Right to Life and Livelihood campaign said 34 drivers had taken their own lives in the last two years.

Drivers attached black ribbons to their cars and drove to the Department of Transport and the Taoiseach’s office to hand in letters raising their concerns.

At 12.15pm, before the protest began, drivers held a minute’s silence at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin city centre in memory of their colleagues and all suicide victims. Mr Blanch said taxi drivers were a mirror image of what was happening in society, with suicides, emigration, mass unemployment and poverty.

The letters to the Taoiseach and Minister called for the abolition of the Taxi Regulator’s office as it had lost “all credibility”.

Mr Blanch said a new rule prohibiting drivers from using cars older than nine years would make thousands unemployed. Yesterday’s was the third black ribbon day taxi drivers have held.