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Taxi regulations must honour Good Friday commitments – Ellis

24 January, 2013 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called on the Minister for Transport to revisit parts of the new Taxi Regulation Bill in order to ensure that people who were convicted of offences covered by the terms of the Good Friday Agreement are not put out of their jobs and unfairly discriminated against. He made his comments in light of plans to retrospectively remove taxi licences from people who were convicted of particular offences.

Deputy Ellis said:

“Under the Good Friday Agreement and the subsequent agreements this state was party to, former prisoners from the conflict were recognised for the special situation under which they were convicted. Commitments were made by both states that prisoners would not be barred from gaining employment and would be supported in finding work and reintegrating back into society.

"These new regulations might be well intentioned, but they will have a very negative effect on the families of former political prisoners who rely on the earnings of their taxi to put a roof over their heads and pay the bills.

"Customers of taxis must be made to feel safe but unfairly obstructing the reintegration of former political prisoners who might have been working with no issues as taxi drivers for many many years will do nothing but damage. There are many who have sat in the Dáil, and even served as Ministers, who would be barred from the taxi industry by this legislation.

"I ask the Minister to reconsider the effects of this and to meet with the Good Friday Implementation Committee and prisoners groups to work out a just solution.”

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