herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

a TAXI driver and grandfather admitted he is lucky to be alive after being savagely beaten during an early morning robbery.

a TAXI driver and grandfather admitted he is lucky to be alive after being savagely beaten during an early morning robbery.

John Ford (58) was attacked by two young men he had picked up as a fare in Cork city centre at 4am last Friday.

They dragged the ABC cab driver from his green 2011 Toyota Avensis near Dublin Hill and proceeded to punch and kick him.

The duo, both in their 20s, then stole his car leaving the taxi driver bleeding and semi-conscious on the ground.

Mr Ford suffered a suspected fractured eye socket as well as severe facial bruising.

Several of his teeth were also knocked loose.

The attackers also stole €100 from him during the incident which only ended when they crashed his car at Kinvara Close and then fled on foot.

It was the second brutal attack on an Irish taxi driver in 24 hours.

"I was brought to Cork University Hospital (CUH) by ambulance. They did X-rays but I have to go back on Wednesday because they are not sure if there is a breakage at the back of the eye," Mr Ford said.

"My four teeth are the worst - they are not busted but they are very loose and it is very painful. So I need another X-ray on my jaw."

"But they could have stabbed me - they could have killed me. It could have been an awful lot worse."

Mr Ford said he has not option but to go back to work as soon as possible.

"I am very nervous. I will have to go back out again. But it will take me a while. I am normally a night shift person. I usually go out at 4am and finish at 1pm. The reason is because it is a little busier."

"I have no idea how long I will be out of work but I will have to try and get back. Like everybody else I have a mortgage to pay. I have bills to pay at home. My kids are all married and I have eight grandchildren."

Mayfield Gardai said they have been "overwhelmed" with support from people appalled by the attack on the hard-working grandfather.

Mr Ford has also been inundated with messages of solidarity from members of the public.

"I told them (the Gardai) everything I could remember. One fella had a grey tracksuit, the other had a black tracksuit. The guy in the front, I would know him straight away," Mr Ford said.

"All I can say is that the guy in the back was thin and had a hoodie on him."

"They didn't speak a lot but I was hoping they might have CCTV footage from Patrick Street. They got in just outside Black Tie (by Patrick's Bridge) - there has to be (CCTV) because I saw them coming over Patrick's Bridge from a distance."

"The detectives told me there has to be CCTV footage."

Cork Tax Council (CTC) has now joined with Dublin taxi associations in demanding Government support for enhanced safety systems for drivers.

Taxi groups want the Government to support a scheme whereby cabs are upgraded to include CCTV security camera systems for the protection of both drivers and passengers.

CTC official, Robert Lynch, said Irish taxi drivers are increasingly nervous over their safety given a spate of violent attacks and robberies.

"Drivers are very worried," he said.

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