Dáil Éireann - Volume 581 - 02 March, 2004

Written Answers. - Taxi Regulations.

  177. Ms McManus asked the Minister for Transport when the new legislation barring those with criminal records for serious offences such as murder, rape, sexual assault and some traffic offences, will take effect; the measures required from the Garda to ensure the full implementation of the new regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6789/04]

  Mr. Brennan: Under existing provisions in the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations 1963 to 2002 all applicants for licences to drive small public service vehicles, taxis, hackneys and limousines, must satisfy the Garda Commissioner that they are a fit and proper person to hold a licence, and that they have an adequate knowledge of general traffic regulations, the regulations relating to public service vehicles and the area in which they propose to make services available as a driver of a small public service vehicle. All applicants for such licences are vetted by gardaí for the purpose of establishing if applicants are fit and proper persons to hold such licences.

The Garda Commissioner may at any time revoke a licence to drive a small public service vehicle if he considers that the holder of the [391] licence is no longer a fit and proper person to hold such a licence. It is of course open to individual licence applicants to appeal Garda decisions to refuse or revoke a licence to the courts.

Section 36 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003 provides for a system of automatic disqualification from applying for or holding a small public service driver or vehicle licence in respect of persons who have been convicted of one of a range of very serious offences, including murder, manslaughter and various sexual, drug trafficking and other offences. A person who is affected by these provisions can request the courts to allow them to apply for a licence in certain restricted circumstances. In addition, where a person has been convicted of one of a number of other serious traffic offences after the commencement of the relevant subsection, he or she will be disqualified for holding a licence to drive a small public service vehicle for a period additional to any driving disqualification that is applied.

I will make a decision regarding the timing of the commencement of the above provisions following the completion of consultations between my Department and the Garda, the Courts Service and other interested parties and the putting in place of appropriate administrative and other arrangements to facilitate their full implementation.

Question No. 178 answered with Question No. 144.

Question No. 179 answered with Question No. 136.

Question No. 180 answered with Question No. 124.