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'Inherently racist' - Varadkar critical of signs of 'Irishness' on Dublin taxis

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar also said that stickers indicating that a driver was Irish were “inherently racist”.

Image: © TheJournal.ie

TRANSPORT LEO VARADKAR has said that the green lights on taxi roofs will have to be removed.

He said that other signs on Irish taxis that indicate a driver is Irish are “inherently racist” and “inherently xenophobic”.

Responding to TheJournal.ie’s exclusive report yesterday that some taxi drivers in Dublin were potentially using a covert signal to each other and potential customers that they are Irish, Varadkar said that the green lights would “have to be removed”.

The National Transport Authority issued an order for the green lights to be removed amid concerns they were advertising nationality. Varadkar followed this up this morning with strong criticism of the the actions of some drivers.

He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland: “The green light does not form part of the official sign so it is not permitted and the green lights do have to be removed.”

The Minister also said that he had seen stickers on taxis informing potential punters that the taxi driver is Irish, saying that in his personal view this was not acceptable behaviour but doubting whether drivers could be forced to remove them.

He continued: “I think it’s inherently racist, I think it is inherently xenophobic. All taxi drivers have to be identified, you can see their ID on the taxi when you get into it.

“The important thing is that you know who the taxi driver is, not what race they are or what their nationality is.”

Yesterday, this website disclosed how the green lights are becoming more common on the streets of the capital with numerous drivers indicating that they were a sign of ‘Irishness’.

While the NTA said that it “will not tolerate racism in any form nor from any source, driver or passenger”, Christy Humphrey from the National Private Hire and Taxi Association insisted it was not the case that the lights were racist.

“I couldn’t see how it would be racist if an individual wants to identify himself for different reasons,” he told RTÉ Radio.

TheJournal.ie reader, Karen Donoghue, sent us in this photo of the Irish driver sticker, spotted on a cab recently.

Exclusive: Are some Dublin taxi drivers using covert signal of ‘Irishness’?

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Hugh O'Connell

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