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Taxidrivers fail to stop issue of new licences

The National Taxi Drivers' Union (NTDU) has failed to get a temporary High Court order restraining the issuing of further licences between now and the resumption on January 11th of their legal challenge to deregulation.

The application was made at the third day's hearing of judicial review proceedings taken by the NTDU.

In an affidavit, Mr Tom Gorman, general secretary of the NTDU, said that, under the new regulations, the licensing authorities had automatically issued licences to all applicants who paid a fee of 5,000 (for an ordinary licence) and 100 (for a wheelchair-accessible licence).

Mr Gorman said they had asked the licensing authorities to desist from issuing licences pending the outcome of the NTDU challenge in the High Court. It was now apparent the court could not decide the claim before the Christmas vacation.

An injunction had not been sought before yesterday because the challenge to deregulation had secured an early trial date, and taxi-drivers were not sure at what rate licences would be applied for and would be issued.

Mr Gorman said he had learned with alarm on Wednesday that 1,810 applications for new licences had been made to Dublin Corporation, and applications were being received at the rate of 129 a day. Unless the court preserved the status quo, it would not be in a position to provide an effective remedy for taxi-drivers.

Mr Justice Carney, refusing the application for an interim order, said he had understood the taxi-drivers' challenge to the new regulations had been fixed on the basis that there would be no application for restraining orders.

A number of individual taxi-drivers were given leave by the High Court yesterday to seek an order compelling the authorities to increase taxi fares.

Leave was granted to bring judicial review proceedings again st Dublin Corporation, the Minister for the Environment and the State. However, a lawyer for the drivers said later they would be proceeding against the corporation only.


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