Holly Cairns TD

Recent case of rapist taxi driver is every woman’s worst nightmare 

The Government must move to assure the public that the taxi regulator has sufficient powers to identify and disqualify taxi drivers who are convicted of serious sexual offences, according to Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns.

“In the Dáil today, the Tánaiste failed to respond to serious questions regarding the role of the taxi regulator in the case of Raymond Shorten.

“Shorten, who raped two young women in his taxi, was able to operate as a taxi driver despite having several previous convictions, including for serious sexual offences.

“A convicted sexual offender operating as a taxi driver is every woman’s worst nightmare. Women, who use taxis at night, do so not just to get home – but to get home safely.

“However, women who got into Shorten’s taxi were exposed to a serial sexual predator. Two of them were brutally attacked and raped as a result.

“This case raises major questions for the regulator, the National Transport Authority. Most importantly, why did Shorten – who was convicted of sexual offences – have a taxi licence?

“The NTA has the power to disqualify taxi drivers convicted of serious crimes – so why did it fail to do so?

“There are other questions also. Does the NTA have a record of taxi drivers who have been convicted of serious crimes? How many taxi drivers have been disqualified as a result of committing serious offences?

“Remarkably, when I put those questions to the Tánaiste today, he failed to answer them. This is hugely alarming – and will do nothing to assure the public that the regulator is doing its job or indeed has sufficient powers to do its job.

“As a matter of urgency, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan should now clarify why Shorten, a known sexual predator, had a taxi licence. The Minister must also make a statement on the NTA’s powers to disqualify taxi drivers and whether they are sufficient.

“The government must also act in other areas. For years, the Dental Council have been begging the government to increase its powers of sanction while counselling services remain completely unregulated.

“The government repeatedly tell us they are adopting a zero tolerance approach to sexual and gender-based violence. Where is the evidence of that when the government won’t regulate in areas like this and senior ministers refuse to even answer questions on the issue?”

Back to all Posts