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Dublin: 0°C Monday 1 March 2021
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Fair play: Taxi drivers are throwing a huge party for 850 kids with special needs

Last year, organisers had struggled to get enough drivers involved but this year is going to be bigger and better than ever.

THIS MORNING, MORE than 500 taxi drivers will put on a colourful display in Dublin’s city centre as they treat hundreds of children with special needs to a fun day out.

The Dublin Taxi Drivers Special Children’s Outing has been running since 1960 and this year, the organisers promise it will be “bigger and better” than ever. In 2013, there was an urgent appeal for more drivers to get involved but this time, organiser Paul Matthews told TheJournal.ie that there was no problem getting volunteers as he had kept up awareness of the event all through the year.

“The numbers are up on last year and we’re catering for more children,” he said. “We’re also taking children from more hospitals and care homes this year.”

Each of the 850 children, as well as their parent or carer, will be collected this morning at about 11am by their driver and taken to Parnell Square where they’ll be treated to a performance by the Garda Band. There will be a few VIPs knocking around, including boxer Katie Taylor and Dublin Gaelic football players Dean Rock and James McCarthy.

After a few brief speeches, the children will be whisked off to Leopardstown Racecourse, with a full garda escort complete with flashing lights and sirens, for a huge party. There’ll be food, face painting and a disco for them all to enjoy and once they have worn themselves out, their drivers will take them home.

“They’ll be back home with smiling faces hopefully,” Matthews said. “The bulk are falling asleep by the time they’re brought back.”

Drivers fundraise throughout the year and also get sponsors on board in order to pay for the fun day, which means so much to the children involved.

Read: Taxi drivers ‘badly’ needed for this year’s special children’s outing>

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