Man arrested in garda sting on rickshaws
A clampdown on rickshaw operators in Dublin city centre on Thursday night saw one man arrested and a number of people interviewed as part of a multi-agency operation.
Gardai, Revenue and Social Welfare officials stopped and identified 75 rickshaw operators on Grafton Street late on Thursday.
Currently, very little is known about who is operating and driving rickshaws in the capital and there is concern about how they could be identified in the case of an accident.
There is also concern about whether many operators pay tax on their earnings from providing short cross-city journeys for a cash fee.
A garda spokesperson said that one rickshaw operator was arrested by gardai under immigration legislation and appeared before Dublin District Court yesterday.
"This multi-agency operation centred around the use of 'rickshaws' in the city centre and involved taxation, immigration and road traffic issues," he said.
"A number of people were interviewed and follow up operations are taking place."
Dublin City Council said that the operation of rickshaws in Dublin has been considered and discussed in detail over the past 18 months.
In a recent report to the City Council, Parking Enforcement Officer Eithne Gibbons said that the regulation of rickshaws was necessary.
"The status of a rickshaw as a public service vehicle needs to be defined within primary legislation and therefore the operation of rickshaws could be more appropriately regulated on a national level," said Ms Gibbons.
Revenue said that they were keen to see that the operators of rickshaws were registered for appropriate taxes, record-keeping systems and that employees driving rickshaws are registered.
"These operations demonstrate Revenue's dedication to maintaining a level playing field for all businesses.
"They form an important part of Revenue's endeavours in managing the risks inherent in the shadow economy and play a vital role in the promotion of tax compliance," a spokesperson for Revenue said.
Local Sinn Fein Councillor Chris Andrews said that he witnessed gardai and Revenue officials stopping and gathering rickshaw operators on Grafton Street.
"It was brought up with the Transport Committee in Dublin City Council that they would regulate the rickshaws in someway," he said.
"There was a significant amount of gardai involved last night and it seemed like a joint effort between them, the Revenue and City Council."
Gardai were holding the rickshaws at the top and bottom of Grafton Street.
Councillor Andrews said that it was about time these were regulated and that he was surprised that there have not been more accidents involving the rickshaws.