herald

Saturday 21 September 2019

Man who claimed to be a guard quizzed on vile racist attack

The suspected attacker can be seen racially abusing and assaulting the driver in his car
The suspected attacker can be seen racially abusing and assaulting the driver in his car

Gardai have quizzed a man after a shocking video of a racist attack on a taxi driver went viral.

The footage shows a man racially and physically abusing a taxi driver, and has been shared widely on Twitter over recent days.

It is understood the incident was recorded on Easter Sunday night in Dublin.

The man - who is sitting in the front-passenger seat - is seen shouting "what's your favourite position?" in the face of the driver, before referring to him using a racial slur numerous times.

The man then attacks the driver, referring to him as a "f***ing c***" and punching him several times.

The passenger, believed to be from Kerry, can then be seen to remove his seatbelt and assault the driver, requesting that he gets out of the car while claiming to be "a police officer".

Jeopardise

The video has been shared hundreds of times on social media with the original poster requesting help in identifying the passenger.

Derek Devoy, who founded Taxi Watch, a suicide prevention service run by his taxi drivers, yesterday said he has been in contact with the man who he believes is the passenger.

Mr Devoy confirmed that the man was due to go to a Garda station yesterday evening.

"I don't want anything that will jeopardise his court case. I just want to get him to the Garda station and after that I'm finished," Mr Devoy said.

Gardai later confirmed they had questioned a man.

"Gardai in Clontarf are investigating the alleged assault of a taxi driver that occurred at approximately 10pm on the Malahide Road, Donnycarney, on April 21," the statement said.

"A suspect in the case has presented themselves at a north Dublin Garda station," it added.

"Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact Clontarf Garda Station 01 6664800 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111," said a garda spokesman.

Gardai have said that as the investigation is ongoing, they will not be commenting further at this time. However, they have confirmed that the suspect in the case is not a member of the gardai.

Vincent Kearns, CEO of Xpert Taxis, has worked as a taxi driver and was vice president of the National Taxi Drivers Union. He said that incidents like this are not uncommon for taxi drivers.

"It's horrific. It's a difficult one to handle. I spent most of my life as a taxi representative, the head of a union and even now I run a taxi company with over 500 drivers.

"If I get a driver, whether it be a Nigerian driver or an Indian driver, someone who is easily identifiable by race as not being Irish, I ask them if they have ever suffered any type of racial abuse. The majority of them say, 'nothing too serious, but yes.'

"On Friday and Saturday night when people are tanked on drink or drugs, that type of talk often happens in taxi. Independent drivers working the street are at the highest risk."

Mr Kearns added the majority of such attacks go unreported.

"If you're out on a Friday or Saturday night driving your taxi and you call for Garda assistance, the likelihood is that they are pushed with more serious issues so the majority of these attacks are never unreported," he said.

"There are no statistics on how frequently this type of abuse happens, but I can tell you it's frequent enough. I've certainly heard of many cases."

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