February 19, 2013
Sinn Fein transport spokesperson, Dessie Ellis TD, has described the new proposed taxi regulations as “disproportionate and repugnant to our Constitution”.
He made his comments when raising the concerns of many drivers, former republican prisoners, who work as taxi drivers.
Deputy Ellis continued:
“These regulations could see many former political prisoners barred, disqualified or suspended from the industry and without a livelihood despite having worked as drivers for years without any problem.
“This state, with the backing of the people in a referendum signed up to the Good Friday Agreement which recognised the special circumstance of the conflict.
“It also recognised that those imprisoned for offences directly related to the conflict were not ordinary prisoners and should be afforded special attention to aid reintegration into society and the securing of gainful employment.
“I also believe this measure is at odds with the constitution and its recognition of an individual’s right to a livelihood or property rights.
“A similar regulation was been attempted in the north of Ireland but was defeated with a former republican prisoner took a case to the High Court. If Minister Alan Kelly will not accept our points on this issue then I expect this to be the outcome again and this section of the Bill will be rendered null and void.
“I am very disappointed by the minister’s response. He completely ignored the Good Friday Agreement which his government is bound by. It is a disgraceful approach to such an important agreement and I hope he will reconsider as we continue to debate.
“Anyone convicted of an offence directly related to the conflict should, under the agreement this state signed up to be supported in getting employment, not thrown out of work as this Bill does. I recognise this government did not sign the agreement but it is time they started living up to it.”