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Minister Kelly needs to clarify position of former republican prisoners – Ellis

29 February, 2012 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Fein Transport spokesperson, Dessie Ellis TD, has called on the Junior Minister Alan Kelly to clarify the position of former republican prisoners who currently drive or in the future might seek to drive a taxi. He was speaking following questioning the Minister on this matter in the Oireachtas Committee on Transport today.
Deputy Ellis said:
“I asked the minister would the provision for removing people with ‘serious convictions’ take into account the commitments of the state to oppose discriminating against former political prisoners recognised by the Good Friday Agreement. He refused to be clear on this issue and has led me to believe he will not seek to consider these commitments in forthcoming legislation.
“If Minister Kelly does not act within these commitments many reliable people who are pillars of their community will not be able to continue or take up taxi licences. I myself, and many people elected to the Dáil, would not be able to take up a taxi licence. I can receive thousands of votes and represent thousands of people but not be a taxi driver.
“There is of course need for barring people who were convicted of serious violent crimes from getting a taxi licence but this can be done while respecting the process which ended the conflict in Ireland and is allowing people who took part in that conflict to rebuild their lives and take part in society.
“I will seek an amendment to any legislation which would bar people who were convicted as part of the conflict from receiving or maintaining a taxi licence.”


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