Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jack Russell



The statue of Sean Russell has been vandalized again. So I googled him. One way or another it is hard on his relatives, reading through some of the stuff the IRA did not see him as a Nazi.
"I am not a Nazi. I am not even pro-German. I am an Irishman fighting for the independence of Ireland" - Sean Russell


You live and learn, when you stop learning you die.

This morning I got up early and trawled the streets looking for work. I got a bit,even picked up the same guy I picked up yesterday going to a different destination,he tips well too.

After my breakfast the work was gone along with the early morning dew.
I couldn't even get near a rank, I cruised around picking up little until I decided to head home again. But I got little to nothing.

Yesterday I was down at the port where there was a line of taxis. I stopped behind them and went into the terminal building to use the toilet.
On the way out I walked up to the ticket desk.
"Hi have the foot passengers come out yet?"
"They are long gone,we are loading up now" Was her reply.
When I went outside I walked past around a dozen cars and told the driver behind my car that they were all long gone.
I turned around and as I was driving past the queue from the other side when I saw that the car that was behind me had moved up into my space.

Do these guys leave their brains at home? No work here !

We had a crackling on the phone line for months so we called the phone people, they came with a threat that if nothing was wrong they would have to charge us.
They renewed the phone line to the pole on the road.
Now the telephone line is crystal clear, I can at last hear the heavy breather on the line.

Last week in the morning this beautiful liner pulled into Dublin. I had some passengers going to the ferry and pulled into the liners berth to take a photo. Problem was a mad security guard insisted we should take no photos, pity he had not turned on its "cloaking device", so I got my photo from the other side of the river.
Click on the photo to see how big it is.

I would love to do a cruise with the magician Rene Levand. I will be meeting him in London in the Autumn.In spite of loosing his right arm he provides fantastic magic on cruise ships coming from South America.

The girl doing the English has a fantastic magic act in her own rite. Tina Lenert
This act took her around the world as it is a silent act it works everywhere.
(A bit like the taxi regulator which is a silent act but does not work)


This weekend in Dublin we have magician Keith Barry.
After he made this piece he had a very bad car crash,nearly lost his leg.
Lucky for him he was in Northern Ireland at the time.


Here is a guy with an acidic sense of wit


What does a tight rope walker fear? Wasps
What do dogs hate ? Cats

What do taxi drivers hate most? Cyclists

I wonder why?


There are a good few clips of couriers in New York as well

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two fingers to U2


The ferry is in.
When the ferries come in from 5.30 am they deposit 10 miles of traffic on to the roads.

City hall form Castle St

Google offices to the left, Barrow st behind and the gasometer in front.
Changing Dublin


Just a note about the departure of the U2 show from Croke Park.
The people who live in the area have had their lives put on hold for over three weeks. Their homes have been put under siege and the concerts were very noisy.
They requested 2 concerts only the GAA for the money gave U2 3 concerts, then to add insult to injury they gave the show a a 40 hour bon stop working permit to dismantle the stage.

This was cranes whirring through two nights and days without a break.

The locals blocked the exit and prevented the fleet of trucks leaving.
This resulted in the stage missing the ferry and the deadline for the next show and it also means that the pitch will not be back in place in time for the next scheduled matches.

You see, people power.

No one won.

Its good to talk.

Here is an interesting website It might help the people of Galway who are fighting Shell at present.

I had an interesting one about a Latvian girl going out the Navan Rd after the last concert.
After the usual "How are you? Where are you from? Do you like Dublin?"She told me that it was so hard trying to survive on the money she was making as she had to send so much money home.

"My mother and stepfather have so little to live on."

I felt like I knew where this might be leading to so I told her a story.

"Once there was a guy "Tommy" who decided to become a thief to help his parents who were very poor.
He was very good at his job and soon everyone in the house had new clothes a good television and a very nice kitchen.
His father bought a truck and started delivering oil to farmers and houses in the area. Then Tommy bought him a new truck and expanded his operation.
When Tommy's sister decided to get married Tommy even bought the couple most of the materials for the new house.

Then as is the way of these things he got caught, convicted and sent to jail.

When Tommy was in Mountjoy prison he rang his father to come to visit him, his dad wouldn't go, he rang his sister to ask that she bring him some cigarettes, she wouldn't go."

So after all his efforts he spent his time in prison alone and when he got out he went back home to his parents.

"For all the money I provided to this family you re payed me by shunning me when I got caught. That hurt me a lot at a time when I needed a little help from you, so I have a plan.
This is the total of money I gave you, I had time to work it out to the nearest penny. This is what your repayments will be,per month over the next 10 years, I am not charging interest.
If you decide not to pay, or stop paying me I will go back to the police and explain where exactly all your money came from, then we will all be back where we started"

Today Tommy is a well respected hotel owner in Wexford, he keeps the books well and looks after his business and his business looks after him as well.

"So you see we all have choices to make and your mother must decide to allow you to live without making the wrong decision"

I knocked e2 off the fare and wished her well.

"You are a good man" she said as she got out.

On the way back into town I thought of people in India ,Africa and Thailand who are so poor that they sell their daughters into prostitution.
Or the girls in Vietnam who work in the brothels and send home every penny only to be shunned by their family when they return home.

(look up the prostitution link on thee R/H side its not what you think)

It can be a cruel world.

On a lighter a friend rang me after seeing the wedding dance video (now over 10 million hits)
"I can't remember my wife dancing up the isle when we got married but she sure as hell danced out of the divorce court"

And for the jugglers of you who are out there

Friday, July 24, 2009

U2 in Dublin


Pontiac

Side entrance to Dublin Castle

This is the official U2 weekend in Dublin.
There is not an empty bed in a hotel room in Dublin.
Every flight into Dublin was full,not an empty seat.

The whole U2 machine is fantastic.
They have 3 stages, one they are on now.
The second one they were on last, it is being dismantled and put on the road again and a third which is being erected for the next big gig, London.

Each stage has a full crew, riggers, stage hands,electricians,drivers,medics, security etc and even their own cleric to give the crew spiritual advice.

Spare parts are moved around to whatever continent they are on be shipped over to whatever stage its needed on at a moments notice.

When you see the McGuinness trucks roll into town you know something big is going to happen.

I live more than 3 miles from Croke Park and I could hear it from the house.

They fit in well together and are now the biggest showbiz group ever in this world in spite of all the setbacks allong the road.

I was looking for the Dublin tourism clip using Beautiful Day,I can't find it perhaps this one is better as it shows the new U2 stage.

Berlin

One of the line up didn't arrive Friday night which upset the running order.
Pity that as professionals at that level just can't not turn up without sanctions.
This could mean loosing your entertainers licence and that would be very bad.

Well after the show it was just like "the good old days" with punters lining 20 deep on the taxi ranks to get home.

If you are at a big venue like that,walk in a homeward direction facing the oncoming traffic showing your legs, (boyfriend in the shadows)and at least then if you don't get an empty car coming back into town you will be warmer and closer to home.
Remember it will be costing you less every step of the way.

Monday night to come and another 80,000 audience, Enjoy..

Talking about specialty acts did you ever see Chris Bliss in action ?
He is fantastic, see how he changes style with the beat.
He was on the French TV5 when we were in Cyprus


Also note that he got a standing ovation !

Now for something completely different.

A wedding video !


This clip has had over 8 million hits.

Dancing in church, a woman priest.

Whatever next?

Thanks for that Mike.

Have a happy week

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hitting mid week


Palm trees in the sun AHHHHH

Municipal buildings Limassol

Hong Kong taxi style Dublin

Just one of those lucky breaks, I was headed on for Heuston over the James Joyce bridge when I saw her hail me.
I couldn't stop in the middle of the road so I blew the horn and did a U turn on the bridge, crossing a white line as I did so.
Good girl that she was she waited for me to go through the lights again and jumped in.
There can be few things that get you mad as to stop for someone only for them to jump into the car behind you.
Today My Mojo was working and she jumped into the front seat.
Nurses, Garda,Physios and Australian girls are the only ones who go for the front seat. Don't ask me why.
She was Australian as it turned out.
She wanted me to go to an AIB bank to get money near to a dart station.
Fine there is a bank link beside Connelly station. No it has to be an AIB bank.
But its only 9.30 and the banks don't open until 10.
Its OK we can wait outside.
Now I am sure she could hear the cogs in my brain clicking into place.
Where are you going to on the Dart? Dun Laoighre she says, listen we could drive there and arrive at 10 then you could get your cash and pay me and as a bonus you would be in time for work. How much would that cost?
I reckoned she had not much money so I said around e15..Go for it.
I knew she had a story to tell for sure and I was right.

There she was heading off to see the big bad world alone.
A big rucksack a smaller bag and a handbag. She was getting off a train somewhere in Europe and there was a woman with a buggy and a few kids behind her.
So being the kind considerate girl she was she put her luggage on the platform for a second while she helped the lady.
When she turned around the handbag was gone with.................her cash, her passport, her mobile phone and her ticket home.....What was worst of all was not being able to contact friends or family.
Wow a dark moment for sure.
Now she had a job with a marketing company making enough money to pay her keep and not a lot more.
Some people you would rather not meet again, but I would just love to know how her trip panned out.

Later on that day I picked up a solisitor going to Goatstown. Did you ever see Herlech house and thefamous gates? says I.
She hadn't so I brought her into Harlech Downs and when she saw the gates,she gasped and took a photo with her phone.
It turned out that her kids used to play with another girl on the development, but she had never seen the gates before. She took a photo and she was very impressed.

This is Zorbas dance!!!
video

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Yesterdays dreams

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YESTERDAYS DREAMS (Its a Caddy)

Could you believe it A garda van stopping druggies?
Well no they were winos from another planet visiting us for the weekend!!!


Another photo of our newest bridge the Sam Beckett bridge.
All new bridges are called after Irish writers.

Well the weekend came and went, Leonard Cohen at the O2.

I would like that someone in the planning office make a rule that no event,display Concert or gathering be allowed to take place until proper provision for taxis be made.
It is forbidden almost to pick up or drop off at the new O2, that just shouldn't be allowed to happen. The concerts in Malahide castle allow cars to drop off people but not taxis, taxis must drop their passengers off at the Malahide Dart stop to be picked up by coach and then be brought to the venue.

I took off my roof sign and drove in.
That was the day a dopey garda waved on the traffic without stopping the other side first and a Maybach crashed into another car.
Wow,it was a moment in which time seemed to go into slow motion.

A lot of damage done.

In construction.

How the mighty have fallen, developers going into receivership all over the place.
Some poor unfortunate people have lost substantial deposits in one new apartment development.
Vast sites are ghost towns.
Even some places like Adamstown are ghost towns,all you need is the Tumbleweed rolling through the place.

My wife tells me this is the worst recession in 65 years!

Look lets not worry about this one though, lets worry about the next one instead.

Many people make fortunes in a depression.
My wife also tells me that in the Chinese the word crisis is represented by two strokes of the brush, one up for danger, the other down for opportunity.
So I will look for the chance to make loads of money.
Like the guy who bought loads of space in Canary wharf in a downturn, his daughter is now an heiress.

I am having problems, I normally start with the photos, then I look at them and then do the text.
But for some reason it is not showing me the posting, so I will stop while I am ahead and finish it later.

The day after!!

The weekend brought another shooting, 4 bullets in the head in broad daylight while children skipped and played nearby.

The assassin drove off on a scooter.

There is a big inter gang war going on, as long as they keep it among themselves they can go at it.

One killing that took place a few weeks ago I had known that the guy was a big player, then there now he was player no more. Its shocking really.
A few months ago I had a "Bloke" in the car and I said that a bullet proof vest would not be much good if you got shot in the head, "Well when I am working I wear a bullet proof coat with a big hood" "But a bullet hitting you on the head would knock you over and fracture your skull" said I. "No your wrong there it has a very stiff padding which absorbs the shock"....
I looked at him spellbound, "do you not believe me?" says he.
"I will give you the website where I get my stuff" says he.

"Listen.This conversation never took place, I never ever saw you and take care of yourself"
"Good man he said giving me e5 tip and off we went our separate ways."

You see a few more words and I would be deeply involved, I was at his house and I have no doubt if you searched his home you would find nothing, but in 20 minutes he could arm himself as good as any army,probably better.

Be careful out there boys and girls, picking up strangers in the night and letting them sit behind you is not a clever way of making a living.

I refer to the rapist McGinley who raped a 12 year old girl served a few years then raped an 86 year old woman soon after he came out.
That other beast in Galway is another fine example of what nature can turn up,if you needed a second opinion.

Did you ever get the guy in the car, Where are you going?
Just go down here and turn left, keep on going(Then he is talking on the phone)
Once upon a time I would sweat it through, he is probably trying to buy drugs or pay a ransom?
No way Jose.
I stop the car and pull them out by the hair if needs be and that is that.
Destination only and no variations and no mumbling into the phone.

GOOD NEWS COMING TO TOWN SOON U2 THE GREATEST LIVING GROUP ON EARTH OR PERHAPS THIS GALEXY WHO KNOWS.

PHOENIX PARK AND THE BOYS ARE GIVING AWAY A FEW MILLION TO ALLOW POOR KIDS TO LEARN MUSIC.

I got another missive from the regulators office about how she is providing a "Quality service" to the public, at least it is a smaller publication than usual.
Kathleen Doyle the printers friend.
I saw a girl on Grafotn St having a "Moment" with a druggie, she wanted to give him e10 and he grabbed the high moral ground. " your money can't buy you piece of mind, put it away, you should have thought more about it before now" and off he walked shouting back "Put it away"
She was very upset and I wanted to go and tell her that if she wanted to really help to go on the "soup run", a group of people who bring tea, Coffey,soup and sandwiches to the down and outs.
It would give her a wider view of what they do, and with others around her she would have support.
It is a tragedy what drugs and drink are doing to us.Sometimes I see a glimpse of desperation in the eyes of the homeless and I think of a guy who works in Minsk in Russia. He was in the taxi late one morning as the drunks waled home in front of the cars. I threw my hands to heaven and said "How can they get so drink?"
"where I am the Police take the drunks in and when they are sober they hose them down with cold water and fine them to boot,the reason they are so strict is that in a few weeks the winter will hit. Then if the fall down drunk they will be dead in 20 Mins, they just collect the bodies, things are really bad there, believe me"

I think that things might never be as bad here,at least I hope not.

Just aside from that one of the most stunning girls I ever saw (apart from my wife) came from Minsk.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bull running

We could go to this OR


Or we could go for a pint.


I keep looking around for things to do this summer, exciting things, different things.

The running of the bulls is over in Pamplona.
Did you see the Irish guy who got flattened and finished up between the bulls front legs? Lucky lad

OK Just five minutes of frantic action !



You can live a lot in just 5 minutes.

Here is one (click here)I don't know how to embed it, but it is violent, or intense.

This is the crack in the South of France,

By the way happy Bastille day!



Just thought you had to see the Bulls before it was old hat. If you are going there let the bulls pass by first,then run after them!!!!

Well the madness of our summer continues,sunshine and cloudbursts!

They say that water is the new oil...WERE RICH.

If you live in New York or close by this lot are looking for runners to carry sponsorship cards. Half marathon Aug. 16 Manhattan taxi drivers(or anyone else) its your time to shine.

Well the next bit is more bull

Same old crap going on, you can't get on to a rank and when you decide to chance tagging on to the end you are moved on or worse still you are fined e40 or more.

We went from around 3,000 taxis to more than 16,000 taxis, the city did not grow X6 times, but the unemployed did grow by that amount. Add to that we had a system where the borough you were able to work in could be identified by your roof sign.
Not any more, you can come into the city from around and work and the regulator with her NINE ENFORCERS are doing nothing to enforce the rules.

Add into the cauldron that taxis are being hired out,to lets say, Bob who has a PSV licence, Bob lets 3 of his "friends"(who have no PSV licence) drive the taxi.So he buys the Evening Hearld again and rents 3 more taxis, because he has a lot of friends.This time he can get another 9 guys driving at say e60 per shift.
His mates don't speak English or do they know Dublin,

Total Chaos.

What do we the legal drivers get?

Complaints to beat the band that's what.

Don't forget these guys are not insured and they don't pay tax either.

So I am not best happy on your behalf, I hope you don't have kids coming home into the future taxis will not be safe unless you personally know a driver (Daddy).

I saw a notice that the taxi regulator sent out a tender for a PR company to handle her PR (post etc),

e600,000 or 900,000 I can't remember which, I get dizzy when I see too many zeros.

They will compose nice letters tothe customers who complain.

Dear sir,
with reference to your letter on the 16 th I am disappointed that your were taken through Killarney and back by the Rock of Cashel on your way in from the airport to Cabra.I can assure you I will investigate your case fully.

Mise le mas,


Kiss Me Arse

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cavan and back





Just back from Cavan after a big family get together.
A surprise 60 th birthday party for my cousin.

Her son and wife flew in under cover of darkness from New Zealand while other folk came in from Belgium, Scotland, Hull in the UK, Derry, Belfast, Cork, Donegal and other far flung places.
After the initial greeting we all remarked that we really should get together more often, not just for funerals or weddings.
I had a good few sessions of "Do you remember me?" I was lucky in that most people I did recognize.I was shocked to meet a widow of a school friend, I had not heard of his death, then she told me that her husbands brother was also dead. When I close my eyes I can picture them perfectly, young guys, Richie and Gilbert Small RIP.
We are now the senior generation as all of our parents are gone, on our journeys through life some have fared better than others,(through luck more than judgment) a good few of us have battled with personal tragedies and bad health, divorce and deaths. One cousin who was looking great lost her husband when he was mowed down by a taxi while he walked home, 24 Nov. A month before Christmas day, a great bunch of kids left behind.
Spoke to the cousin from New Zealand who told me that a guy in Wellington told him to have a look at the blog he reads written by a guy in Dublin, guess what? It was this one, so it is a small world.

Some interesting views from the assembled family on the sudden change in economic climate. "Wait another 6 months until things turn really nasty, there are a lot of homes to be repossessed"
This thought stayed with me.

We have all aged but you know they are all great people even though they are Kin.
I saw digital cameras lying on tables, handbags unattended and no one was stealing anything. That is the taxi driver in me, when anything that is not nailed down gets taken.I even drove off without my video camera but we are arranging a handover as I write The old town where I grew has changed so much that it is safe to say that it is gone.
One thing I regret is that when my Mother moved house someone took a big box of family photographs, going back to the stone age, of interest to no one else,I suppose the memories are in my head, just a pity I can not show them to my family.

Just a thought..Why not back up all the photos on your computer next Tuesday, don't leave it longer and put the disc or memory stick in the safe. I once lost around 3,000 photos on a computer and I like you have not even backed up all the photos on this computer.

One other conversation I had with Mary Clarke who lives now in Gort.
We spoke about the influx of Brazilians into the town of Gort.
It started with a few, then a trickle then a flood as things are bad in Brazil.
Signs in the shops were in Portuguese and English.
What a change from the Ireland I grew up in.
She told me they were lovely people and got on really well with everyone, playing football and GAA games. The best hurler in the locality is Brazilian.
Some others came and could not find work and started breaking into houses.
Guess what? The resident Brazilians caught them and handed them over for deportation.
Now in recession hit Gort the work has dried up and they are going home, with a heavy heart on both sides they will be sadly missed by everyone.
It was the most positive story I heard about migrants into Ireland for a long time.

My oldest son lost his job while I was on holiday, he did computer science and it seems that every company he gets a job with folds, he has skills and is designing a few websites and he is going to build me a new computer, I must find a way for him to promote himself in a better way, he needs a "Life Coach".
Ah you know kids, you can tell them nothing!

My cousin told me that this generation will never be able to get a loan because there is no more "Steady" jobs, they cannot prove a steady income, that is true. 15 years with the same company is a thing of the past.."Then I made the biggest mistake of my life,I bought a TAXI!"

On the taxi front, it takes a few weeks to get back into the work, Last week we had Rod Stewart doing a few dates, picked up a guy from near Sheffield,came for the concert paid top dollar for good tickets. He stood up and moved down to get a photo and was pounced on by security, they then pushed him to the ground and dragged him out of the arena. There was loads of other people taking photos,they just picked on me because I was Asian,(Probably didn't help) We were locked in for a while and when I got them back to the hotel i gave them e2.50 off the fare. "Best forget it mate"was all the advice I could offer.
Later on I got 2 guys going to the Red Cow hotel and half way there one of the guys gets sick down the inside and outside of the door.Its no use saying to a guy who could kill you with one hand that he has to pay you *** euro life is not like that all I got was e20 extra and an early night, scrubbing and disinfectant the next day and after a few hours the smell was all gone.
The Boss Bruice Springstein delivered delivered the goods this weekend. I went down on Sunday to see if they had any tickets over but they were all gone. I was able to listen to 5 or 6 numbers from across the road.(there is something about a stolen apple being sweeter) video

He re defines "old man", I am younger.

Just a peek at The Boss

Junior came back home from Oxygen minus new rucksack and Ipod but safe.

A girl in the taxi told me about the garda arresting this guy. Protesting in a loud voice Im doin nothing wrong why me? The garda said its just about that bag of Cocaine in your hand its not personal at all.

Before I end I would just like you to say a short prayer to your God for the safe return of the Goal aid workers in Darfur, Sharon Cummins from Clontarf and Hilda Kawuki from Uganda who were kidnapped by and armed gang and led away last week.
If a ransom is paid no aid worker will be safe and if no Ransom is paid.........

Either way it will spell dissaster for people trying to live in the reagon,

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Summertime and the livin is easy


The concert goers arrive for the buses to Oxygen..


Oxfam put up a sand sculpture, when I went to take a photo he to me he was "deconstructing" it. I said "Marmalaide, I can use big words too"


This is the new statue to Sean Russel which has just been renewed. The stone statue which was there had its head cut off twice! Now look at the mess. The money would have been better used to pay a social worker not bloody statues.


Great to be back, but with the great depression things are bad for us all.
I will count my blessings and not dwell on the dark side.

When I was in Cyprus I took a taxi ride for around 500 yards and the taxi driver demanded e10. The following row involved him screaming and shouting at me telling me that if I didn't like it I could go home! He wouldn't give me his name or show me his licence. I pulled a towel off the meter which wasn't even turned on.

Taking umbrage at his attitude and in an effort to get fair play for other people I decided to complain to the people who control these matters.
The hotel manageress rang the powers that be.
I wrote a letter and faxed it to the carriage office. Then I had to go to the police station which took 1/2 the day in 35c heat.

Well you cynics are right that was just another waste of time.
Not even a call to tell me they were HOT ON THE CASE.

So in Cyprus you stand at the taxi,"How much to Limassol please?
Say he says e15, you say e7 and as you walk off he might settle for 8...But on the meter it might be 5. This is what we will be heading for here, drivers ripping off passengers all the time and the powers that be doing nothing about it.

Ah the youth heading off to Oxygen A great weekend will be had by thousands and they will return covered in mud and have to ring mummy to come and collect them because the bold taxi man won't let them into his clean car.I wouldn't mind going to see a few of those acts myself.

While I was away there was the international street performers competition, there is some great stuff at that, saw it one year when the kids were smaller.

Gangland shootings are going on and on. The govt are going to bring in new jury less courts to deal with intimidation of jurors and witnesses.
Anyhow all the prisons are full, If you had a few bob to invest you could start building private prisons and make a fortune. I met a guy from Texas once who worked in a private prison and it was no holiday camp for sure.

Bernard Madoff the fraudster from New York was sent down for 150 years jail. Perhaps he might remember where he stashed some of the billions which are still missing.
Next in line would be the accountants, why was there no checks and balances in the movement of the cash?

If I think I had any problems it would shrink when compared to loosing your life's savings, such an arrogant man too.

I was reading a bit of the biography of Stephen King author of Carrie etc. Threw that script in the bin. His wife took it out and read it,he made changes and got $400,000 for the paperback rights, then the film...Got to keep trying.

Guess what? my first ride today was a Lotto winner, he was an usher in the Dial and a group of them scooped the jackpot a while ago..I feel that the luck might rub off on me...The second fare is heading off to Vagas in a few weeks.. My hope is to go there soon.
I love magic and would like to see Geoff Hobbs again.


One thing about staying in a posh hotel is you have room service to clean your room.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Here is a photo of the piece of road in question that I was going on about in Cyprus
Perhaps it doesn't look so bad from this side, but on the other side the arrows and the continuous line have still not been blacked out.

They have a good few of these vintage Bedford and Dodge buses going round, really great looking.


Back home to the cool weather I am used to.

If you would like me to define what loosing the cool means, its crashing a jeep into the entrance of the police station thus blocking the door.
Then taking a flame thrower to the place.

Really lazy attitude the police have, a real waste of space.

Cyprus is 2 hours ahead of us and 6 hours flying time away, so I have been waiting and flying for ages.

Great to be back .

Going for a few ZZZZZZZZZ

Friday, July 03, 2009

TDFC Newsletter

At a time when all taxi drivers are in a deep state of economic chrisis we must keep the information coming.


Taxi Drivers For Change



"Change for the better"



Newsletter No 2





Welcome to the second edition of our newsletter, the marathon continues. A lot of work has taken place since TDFC's last newsletter but unfortunately not a lot has changed for us all. Families are still suffering and taxi drivers still can't make a living. The following information is of the utmost importance to you, your industry and your families future and well being. You will need to make an important decision at the end of this newsletter so please read carefully. Many thanks from the committee to all supporters who are helping to distribute the 15,000 copies of this newsletter nationally.



"Meeting with Bertie Ahearne"



In an effort to speak to everyone that could possibly help us a delegation fom TDFC met with Mr Bertie Ahearne TD at St Lukes in Druncondra. The meeting went well and Mr Ahearne was sympathetic to our cause. Bertie mentioned that he didn't realise things had got so bad in the industry and undertook to speak to the powers that be on our behalf. He suggested that the best way forward was to involve a mediator to speak to us and the representative bodies as well as the TR and the Minister for Transport and he was sure that this would demonstrate that TDFC should be at the table to address the industries problems. Mr Pat Byrne was suggested and agreed as the mediator.



"Meeting with Pat Byrne"



A delegation from TDFC met with taxi advisory council chairman, Mr Pat Byrne, to discuss the problems full time drivers are experiencing. This was more a "get to know you" meeting and from this point of view the meeting went well. TDFC went through the problems with Mr Byrne and highlighted the urgency required in addressing them. Mr Byrne said he would need to talk to all concerned and would get back to us asap.



"Politics"



TDFC are pleased with the performance of the taxi vote in the recent elections. It would seem that a number of parties and politicians who benefitted from our votes were correct in bringing forward positive policies for the taxi industry, you were all obviously impressed as those parties and politicians that have good policies toward the industry did very well. TDFC would like to congratulate all who did well around the country and commiserate with those who lost out. TDFC will be keeping you informed when voting is required again. The next time will be for Lisbon 2.



"Road show protests"



Delegations from TDFC attended 2 further successful road show protests in Galway and Portlaoise to offer our support to our colleagues from around the country and to continue to voice our unhappiness with the regulators office. On the way to the Portlaoise protest we were contacted by Mr Pat Byrne who asked us to clarify our position of non engagement to the regulation commissioner which we duly did. After a drive through protest in Portlaoise TDFC were returning to base when we got a phone call from Pat Byrne to say that he had arranged a meeting with the senior officials of the Dept of Transport, great news we thought, progress at last!



"RSA safety at work conference"



Delegates from TDFC attended the road safety authorities safety at work conference at Dublin Castle recently. Surprisingly there were no taxi industry reps in attendance although the taxi regulation commission were represented by the commissioner herself. The conference was very interesting and we will have details on our web site shortly. The most interesting aspect was a presentation given by world expert on fatigue Prof Jim Horne. Fatigue or sleepiness behind the wheel is considered as dangerous as if not more than driving under the influence. At the end of this presentation TDFC asked whether the RSA were not concerned about the long hours being worked by drivers and also the problem of double jobbers working their taxi's after completing a weeks work elsewhere. The RSA responded that they are unhappy and concerned about this and would be working closely with the industry to address this issue. On a related note one haulage co. owner expressed his unhappiness that some of his drivers were coming to work tired on a Monday because they had spent the weekend working their taxi's. He said there was nothing he could do about the danger this presented as the sate had issued them with taxi licences!



"An Garda Siochanna"



Delegates from TDFC have had a subsequent meeting with the Gardai at Pearse St and the relevant Council officials to do a walk about of south city ranks to address the urgent issues. The most important issue is rank spaces and this is being considered closely. All details will be on our web site shortly as we are confined by the space available here. It was a very successful exercise and all of the relevant issues are being looked at closely. The same exercise is now being conducted on the north city ranks and a walkabout is scheduled shortly. The Gardai are very happy to work with us and we would urge all of our supporters around the country to engage with their local Gardai in the same way.



"Meeting with the Dept of Transport 18/6/09"



TDFC met with senior officials of the D.O.T. on thursday 18/6/09 at the dept's offices in south Frederick st. The meeting was informative to both parties and was conducted in a calm and reasoned manner.

The agenda consisted of the following points:

1, Illegal operators working in unlicensed areas. 2. Cloning of licenses. 3. Sub letting of rental licenses to unlicensed individuals. 4. Fully employed individuals working in the industry having completed a full weeks work elsewhere. 5. Hours required to work by full time drivers. 6. Unfair competition through assisted entry to the industry and tax liabilities.. 7. Inability to exit industry.

TDFC proposals were as follows:

1. Proposed temporary moratorium with set date of review. 2. An urgent review and restructure of the industry ( re change for the better).

3. An appeals process. 4. A meeting with Minister Dempsey to discuss our problems.

After an introduction by TDFC the business of the day was discussed.

The following are the responses from the Dept:

Quality and not quantity is very important and safety is of the utmost importance. The new skills programme which has been put in place should help improve the quality of service. The criteria in place for a person to enter the private coach, haulage and bus industries requires a certificate of professional competence, a strict Garda check, financial backing, a practical test and a 35hr course, this could work in the taxi industry.

The Dept would like to see more enforcement and were very pleased to hear of TDFC's engagement with the Gardai. The Dept will support any work with the Gardai and will also speak to revenue ,customs, social welfare, etc.

Taco graphs were mentioned but TDFC pointed out that they were unworkable at the moment and drivers would not embrace them due to poor working conditions.

The Dept would urge TDFC to consult with the chairman of the taxi advisory council as being the way forward, on tax clearance the Dept will consult with the revenue and social welfare services. The Minister has no law to introduce a cap.

Over all the meeting was a positive one, the Dept will work on standards and stricter enforcement and will await the taxi regulators report to see where we go from there. The Dept again stressed the importance of engaging with the chairman of the advisory council and agreed that a world class taxi service was achievable.

In a follow up letter the Dept states that the taxi regulator is considering our submission as part of the public consultation process on formulating the next steps needed for the industry including the improvement of vehicle and driver standards. They further urge us to engage with the regulator and the advisory council. The Dept also point out that as part of the overall programme for Government, the Government will shortly be making a statement on Economic Regulation which will apply to all regulatory bodies and will deal with appeals mechanisms.



"Summary"



It is clear to TDFC that we have only 2 choices as to which direction we need to take. Which ever one you decide you will be expected to support. On one hand we can engage with the taxi regulation commissioner, for which we don't have a mandate from you, which may lead to a meeting with Minister Dempsey and further progress. Or, secondly, we can return to action and take our cause to the streets. In all of the meetings so far we haven't got anything to show for you and our situation grows worse by the day.

If we are to engage with the taxi regulator a positive gesture of trust is needed, which could be a guarantee that items from our submission will be enacted on or even something as simple as suspending the renewal increase while we talk about it. Our gesture of trust has been to engage with the Dept of Transport and Pat Byrne in a calm and reasonable manner and to suspend our protests. There should be equal respect from both sides.



What we need from all our supporters now is a decision. Below are 2 questions for which we require just one answer. Text your answer to the number shown (text will cost 60c and all monies will be used for the campaign and detailed in the accounts which are available to all through Collie our treasurer). Your participation is of the utmost importance to the future of the industry so please respond.





Question A



Do you wish TDFC to continue dialogue and engage with the taxi regulation commission / advisory council?

If your answer is yes then text taxi A and your plate number to 53307



Or Question B



Do you wish to escalate direct action to include Cities, towns, airports, ferry ports, motorways, etc, nationally, until a positive gesture from commission is offered and accepted?

If your answer is yes text taxi B and your plate number to 53307



(0.60cent per text incld vat. Standard network charges apply. Lines close Sun 12/7/09 @ 18.00. S.P. phonovation, p.o. box 6 Dun Laoghaire Co Dublin 0818217100)





Fight for your job text us now



Thanks to all supporters for their continued support

TDFC



www.taxidriversforchange.org