AN agreement to end the Dublin airport taxi strike was reached this morning after all-night talks.
As the strike entered its third day, negotiators from both sides accepted recommendations to end the dispute.
The mediator recommended the re-opening of all taxi waiting spaces at the airport for the next two weeks. This will allow negotiations to take place over the next fortnight to find a permanent solution to the debacle.
The dispute erupted on Wednesday when Dublin Airport Authority closed 70 waiting spaces out of several hundred spaces available to taxis at the airport.
Taxis began returning to work at the terminals shortly after 8.30am after drivers at the airport gave a final approval to the agreement reached during the talks.
Jerry Brennan, General Secretary of the National Irish Taxi Association, told the Herald: "The recommendations were read to the drivers and we have full confidence in mediator, Seamus Sweeney. This is a positive result and we have great confidence in the process.
"There were handshakes all around at the end of the talks and we believe that this is a new beginning," he said.
Dublin Airport Public Affairs Director Paul O'Kane, said: "We're delighted taxi services have resumed. Our focus has always been on the passenger.
"The 55 spaces have been handed back and we will enter into intensive negotiations over the next two weeks on all matters.
"At the end of the two-week period, it has been agreed that the DAA will take the spaces back as the area is needed for other operational reasons."
Mr O'Kane emphatically denied reports there was 'chaos' at the airport during the taxi strike, stating that extra staff had been provided to direct passengers to buses.
One of the first passengers to avail of the restored taxi service was Australian Karlene Cass (40). "I'm just relieved to get a taxi. I didn't know there was a strike on here. I'm glad it's over."
Taxi man Thomas McGrath (57) said: "I am 38 years working on this rank at the airport. We don't want confrontation. We just want to do a day's work."
John Usher, President of the Irish Taxi Federation, told the Herald early this morning: "The proposals were accepted and we next have to put these proposals to a meeting of the drivers at the airport. We don't expect the meeting of drivers to last more than five minutes.
"I'm satisfied with the outcome and we now have two weeks for talks and this is the way it should have been from the beginning," he said.
However, it appeared to take some time for news of the strike's end to filter through -- there were still no taxis working until after 8.30am this morning.
Among the visitors disgruntled by the strike was West Yorkshire woman Mira Mileusnic, who was dismayed to discover that taxi strike was in progress.
"I just don't believe it. We came out of the arrivals and saw the sign. I was very disappointed."
She and four relatives planned to attend a wedding in Kildare. "We've just paid €250 now to hire a car because of the strike and now we've just been told that it's coming to an end. It's unbelievable," she said.
Irate cabbies launched the wildcat strike on Wednesday after drivers who could not find space in a taxi waiting area were given parking tickets by gardai.
Gardai later promised to rescind the parking tickets but warned them they would issues tickets the following day.
Drivers withdrew their services and refused to pick up any passengers at either terminal.