Wednesday 26 October 2016

Legal help needed to stop rickshaw drivers working without licence in city centre

Rickshaw drivers in Dublin don't need a licence
Rickshaw drivers in Dublin don't need a licence

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is seeking legal advice in an attempt to stop rickshaw drivers operating in the city without a licence, according to Dublin City Council (DCC).

Currently, there is no legislation or by-laws in place to regulate pedal cycles for hire or reward.

Following discussions between the National Transport Authority and Dublin City Council, the NTA is seeking the opinion of senior counsel to determine whether it has the authority to regulate battery-powered rickshaws.

A statement from DCC said that it is still unsure as to whether it has the power to regulate or if it is a matter for the Department of Transport.

“Following further discussions in relation to the regulation of rickshaw operations, the NTA’s solicitors have submitted a detailed brief seeking senior counsel’s opinion on a number of issues,” the statement said.

“Specifically, the NTA are seeking advice on whether they have the power to regulate battery-powered rickshaws.”

Independent Dublin City Councillor, Cieran Perry, has been pushing DCC on the issue since 2013, and says that the worry is who will be accountable if an accident occurs.

“My fear would be that if somebody’s vehicle got clipped by one of these, who would be accountable?” Mr Perry told the Herald.

“It wouldn’t be the rickshaw driver, because they don’t have a licence.

“So it would either be Dublin City Council or the Department of Transport.

“Then you’ve got to look at when they’re driving,” Councillor Perry explained. “If they crash, who’s accountable for these injuries?

“At the moment it’s not them, and it just doesn’t seem right to me,” he added.


Mr Perry initially put in a question to DCC in December 2013, on whether the rickshaw drivers required a licence, with the council replying that although no legislation was in place at the time, it was in favour of regulation.

The council then told Mr Perry that it was actively discussing the enforcement of such with gardai, before it looked at the possibility of whether it could bring in by-laws.

As recently as last year, a garda clampdown on rickshaw drivers saw at least 75 rickshaw operators stopped on Grafton Street, in Dublin’s city centre regarding immigration, road traffic issues and taxation.

A spokesperson for the Revenue Commissioners told the Herald at the time that it was keen to see that rickshaw operators were registered to pay appropriate taxes.

“These operations demonstrate Revenue’s dedication to maintaining a level playing field for all businesses,” said a spokesperson.

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