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Public willing to put up with inconvenience, says Molloy 

THE public is willing to put up with the inconvenience of a taxi strike in order to get a better taxi service in the long run, Junior Minister Bobby Molloy said yesterday.

Mr Molloy said he has received a lot of messages from people supporting the Government's stance regarding the de-regulation of the taxi service.

"Look at the massive public support for what we have done. People are prepared to put up with this temporary inconvenience as long as they have some assurance that in the end we will have a world-class taxi service in Dublin and throughout the country," he said yesterday in a radio interview.

The Galway TD claimed that what is happening in the taxi industry is just part of the trend of moving towards introducing more competition in the various economic services and activities within the State. And to indicate otherwise would be unfair to all those concerned.

"It would be wrong of me to indicate that there was any likelihood of the Government changing its policy in this respect. Competition is the way forward and the best way to give the public a top class service," he added.

During the radio interview, Mr Molloy also said it was very disappointing that the taxi drivers had chosen to go on strike and maintained that it did not help anybody's cause to do so.

"Most of them are self-employed so they are effectively striking against themselves," he believed.

He indicated that next week's talks would focus on any hardship cases that the taxi driver's union wishes to bring up as well as arranging refunds for individuals who were charged excessive amounts for their plates by local authorities.

"We will also discuss capital depreciation for those individuals who can prove that they paid large sums of money for their taxi plates.

"It will be very important to ensure that there will be ongoing discussions with regard to the issue of a quality service and that is what we will try to facilitate," he said.

With regard to placing a restriction on the number of new plates, Mr Molloy claimed that no useful restriction could be imposed under the new regulations. 

"There is a very serious probability that it would immediately be challenged and found invalid," he concluded. 

By BILL CORCORAN

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