A BILL THAT would increase the power of gardaí to refuse licenses, and bring in mandatory disqualification of taxi drivers who have committed certain crimes, will be discussed today.
The Seanad is to discuss the Taxi Regulation Bill 2013, which Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly said would remove serious criminals from the sector, during today’s session at 11.45am. This will be the first time it is discussed by senators.
The Bill would provide for the mandatory disqualification of taxi drivers with certain categories of criminal records. Current taxi drivers with serious criminal records would be given 12 months to apply to the court to keep their licence.
Gardaí would also be given increased powers to refuse licences to people they deem to be “of unsavoury character”. The bill will provide for a penalty point or demerit system for taxi drivers who breach the regulations – and if a driver accumulates a certain amount, they will have their licence suspended.
Authorised officers would be given power under the bill to enter private premises to inspect vehicles, while CCTV would be allowed to be used for taxi enforcement, such as on the ranks.