Sinn Fein anger at sex assault driver allowed back behind wheel of taxi

Sinn Fein’s justice spokesman said it was “outrageous” that a man who admitted sexually assaulting three passengers is allowed to carry women in his taxi as part of his bail conditions.

Donnchadh O Laoghaire raised the case in the Dail of the man who pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault.

The  bail conditions, he said, allow him to collect female passengers, as long as they don’t sit in the front seat.

The defendant is to be sentenced next month.

Mr O Laoghaire said that he accepts the court’s decisions and sentencing and the remit of the judiciary adding that he would not comment in a way that would influence that.

Irish parliament sits
Sinn Fein’s Donnchadh O Laoghaire described the bail conditions as ‘outrageous’ (Niall Carson/PA)

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions he added: “The man has pleaded guilty to these incidents.

“Bail conditions for this man have stipulated that he can drive a taxi but that female passengers are not permitted as front seat passengers.

“This is outrageous. How can anyone feel safe in a taxi, no matter where they are seated, that is being driven by a man who has pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault?

“What mother or father would not be worried that this man could collect their daughters tonight.

“It is unsafe, absolutely wrong and our legislation should not allow it. It is frightening that such a man could drive a taxi in Dublin tonight.”

Tanaiste Simon Coveney said: “As a father of three daughters, it is important that parents and young people can have faith that, when they get into a taxi, they are safe.

“But I think I need to be careful about referring to any individual cases,” he added.

“It’s a serious issue and of course legislation should be tested and, if necessary, changed to ensure that people who are travelling in taxis are protected appropriately and people who are given a licence to drive taxis are appropriately vetted to make sure that, whether it’s women or men who travelling in taxis, are given the appropriate legal protections they deserve.”

He added that the Government is committed to preventing and addressing sexual abuse and gender-based violence.

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