Taxi drivers to hold two meetings in Dublin today


Beleaguered taxi customers in Dublin will find it even harder than usual hailing a cab today as drivers angered by Government plans to more than double the number of plates in the capital attend mass meetings.

A "skeleton" taxi service only will operate for several hours from 10 a.m. while up to 3,000 drivers attend two separate meetings, a move their representatives say is not an official stoppage.

The two main drivers' organisations say their members are outraged by plans by the Minister of State for the Environment, Mr Bobby Molloy, to begin issuing 3,100 new plates by next Easter.

The meetings, to be held between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., were called to allow drivers plan their response to the proposals which they claim will severely cut their incomes. Mr Molloy refused to back-down when he met a delegation of drivers last week.

Taxi drivers withdrew their services at the Dublin Airport last month in a day of unofficial action following the announcement of Mr Molloy's plans.

Mr Tommy Gorman, the general secretary of the National Taxi Drivers Union of Ireland, said emergency services such as blood deliveries and the transportation of dialysis patients to Beaumont Hospital for the Eastern Health Board would not be affected today.

Up to 400 taxis which are not affiliated to the union or the Irish Taxi Drivers Federation are expected to operate as normal.

The federation's president, Mr John Ussher, said he expected 1,000 of its 1,800 Dublin members to attend the meeting at St Vincent's GAA club on the Malahide Road. The meeting starts at 11 a.m..

Mr Gorman said up to 2,000 of the union's 2,600 Dublin members would attend the meeting which begins at 11 a.m. in the National Stadium on the South Circular Road.