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Taxis shun ‘no go’ areas in Galway city


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Taxis shun ‘no go’ areas in Galway city Taxis shun ‘no go’ areas in Galway city

Taxi drivers are avoiding parts of the east of the city at night over fears that they will fall victim to repeated targeted attacks with stones and eggs.

A representative group has expressed fears for the safety of its drivers and their passengers after several taxis were targeted by hooded youths in the Ballybane area over the past six months.

The Galway City Tribune understands that gardaí are investigating these incidents and while the problem had abated for some time, the attacks have been on the rise again in recent weeks.

The latest blitz took place last weekend and Frank Okonkwo of the Progressive Friends Association of Taxi Drivers in Galway told the City Tribune that drivers feared losing control of their vehicles, while passengers were being left terrified.

“The problem occurs especially in the evening time and at night, in the hours of darkness. It is a number of young lads, maybe younger than 16, and they are gathering in a team hiding in the bushes before throwing eggs and stones at any taxi that passes,” said Mr Okonkwo.

It had become a persistent problem in the area near Ballybane Church on the Castlepark Road, he said, while there had also been an similar isolated incident at Moneenageisha some months ago.

Mr Okonkwo said it was unclear why it was taxis in particular which were being targeted, but the result was that drivers were afraid to bring or collect passengers to and from the area at night – concerned about injury and damage to their vehicles.

“The most scary part of it is it happens when you have passengers in the car. It is very dangerous because when you get hit, there is a loud bang. It shocks the passenger and the driver.

“Some cars have been damaged. There have been windshields broken,” he said.

Mr Okonkwo praised gardaí who he said were “doing their best”, and due to their efforts, the problem which started last November eased off in February and March – but it had reemerged.


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