Holly Cairns TD

The circumstances under which taxi licences are revoked and suspended now urgently need to be clarified 

News that taxi driver Raymond Shorten is facing sentencing for the rape of a child – mere weeks after he was convicted of raping two young women in his cab – is shocking and raises questions for the taxi regulator, according to Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns.

“Serial rapist Shorten has been convicted of raping three people – two young women and one child victim. I would like to commend the bravery of all three victims, whose courage has resulted in Shorten being named and publicly identified as a predator.

“Shorten now faces three separate sentencing hearings later this month, which is a matter for the courts.

“However, this disturbing case raises questions for the regulator of taxi driver licences, An Garda Síochána, who must assure the public that existing regulations are sufficiently strong.

“As it stands, it is unclear whether someone who has been convicted of sexual offences will automatically lose their taxi, or SPSV, licence. It is also unclear if someone’s taxi licence will be suspended if they are charged with a sexual offence – while they await trial. The circumstances under which taxi licences are revoked and suspended now urgently need to be clarified.

“Women get taxis at night because they want to get home safely. The prospect that they could be getting into taxis driven by men who have either been charged with, or convicted of, sexual offences is horrifying. It is the stuff of nightmares for women.

“On Wednesday, the Dáil will debate a Social Democrats’ motion calling for a review of regulations of taxi driver licences – to ensure those regulations are sufficiently strong – as well as the implementation of new and updated regulations in other sectors, like dentistry and psychotherapy.

“The government often speaks about adopting a zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence. Reviewing and updating these regulations, as a matter of urgency, is one way they could demonstrate that they take that commitment seriously.”

8 July, 2024


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