Friday, January 31, 2014

Nightmare trip.

From the Irish Indapendent.

Men who beat taxi driver over €26 fare avoid jail

A taxi driver and choir singer was forced to cancel an audition with the RTE choir after two young men punched and kicked him around the head over a €26 fare.

Feargal MacEoin  suffered “huge mental and physical scarring” as a result of a “gratuitous” attack by James Murphy (20) and Dean Daly (19).
Both men avoided a prison term after Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended a sentence of three years. She said she had to have regard to their youth and the fact that neither has any previous convictions. She described the assaults as a “shocking and unprovoked attack”.
Murphy of Alderwood Rise, Springfield, Tallaght and Daly of Maplewood Park, Tallaght both pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm at Alderwood Place, Tallaght on April 28, 2012 and to robbery of a mobile phone, a wallet and cash during the same incident.
Mr MacEoin picked up the men outside a bar by O'Connell Bridge near Dublin city centre and they asked to go to Tallaght. The driver asked them if they needed to stop at an ATM but the men said they didn't.
When they arrived at their destination one man said they needed to go inside to get the fare from his mother and the taxi driver asked them to leave a mobile phone with him for security.
The pair became aggressive and abusive and Mr MacEoin telephoned the gardai. When the driver tried to restrain one of them, Daly held him in a headlock and started punching him in the face.
He knocked the driver to the ground and both men began kicking him around the head. They continued to shout aggressively at him and took his phone and wallet.
The men fled and threw the stolen items away. They were identified on CCTV footage recorded in the taxi and arrested the same day.
Mr MacEoin was knocked unconscious. When gardai arrived they found him on the ground in a semi-conscious state and bleeding profusely from the mouth.
Some of his front teeth were knocked out and he suffered fractures around the eye area of his face.
He had to get metal plates surgically inserted into his face and told Judge Ring that his singing has suffered as a result of the attack.
He had previously been a member of the RTE choir for over four years and was trying to re-join at the time of the assault. He cancelled an upcoming audition after the assault and failed a later one.
The court heard that Mr MacEoin has also lost €18,000 in earnings since the assault and is now nervous working the taxi at night. His relationship with his children has suffered because he didn't want to talk about what happened to him.
Garda James Ward told Marie Torrens BL, prosecuting, that neither man has any previous convictions.
He accepted that Daly has shown genuine remorse and that this wasn't a premeditated assault.
The court heard Daly comes from a respectable family who are traumatised by his actions. He was extremely drunk on the night.
Sarah Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending Daly, said he co-operated with gardai and helped them retrieve the stolen wallet with all the cash. She handed in a number of “glowing” testimonials including one from former Dublin footballer Paul Curran.
Counsel said her client is now working as a barber in Dundrum.
Ronan Prendargast BL, defending Murphy, said his client is extremely sorry for the attack and is hoping to get a job as an apprentice carpenter.
Judge Ring ordered Daly to pay €2,000 in compensation to the victim over the next year. Daly previously paid €5,000 over as a token of his remorse.
The judge ordered Murphy, who is unemployed, to pay another €500 on top of €1,500 he has already paid.

Justice will never be done until the thugs are given the treatment they deserve.
I would doubt that they would have been caught without the CC TV footage.
There is another case before the courts where a taxi driver died when he hit his head on the curb when he fell back after being punched. 

That guy also walked free as he had shown remorse! 
Not much good for his widow and kids.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

30 years ago

Time is like a road sign.


How did it happen?,

A stroke of time ago was the 30 th anniversary of Derry bloody Sunday.
How could the British army plan to open fire on unarmed protesters?

Then after several investigations we find out that in fact that they really did kill all those people in cold blood.

30 years ago

Then Luke Kelly gone for 30 years!

I once asked to touch the piano belonging to Phil Coulter who wrote this song.
I got my wish.
The woman who was there was so happy for me.
(I don't know if it was his wife or his housekeeper.)
He lived in Bray.
A great thrill for me even now to have touched that great piano on which such great music was written

I was with my son the other day.
When I said that it was comforting  to see the road signs in miles as we crossed the border (we have gone metric) my son asked me to watch this.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Just back from London

                "Dream car raffle"at the airport  Aerial Atom
           Outside the Victoria and Albert museum...A taxi drivers shelter
                                                     Samori warrior

           Inside the V&A

Just back after 4 days in London on business.
It is a great city to get around in for sure.

Back to work.

Business is slack now.
I use this time of year to prepare myself for the future !!!!!!!!!!!
(Repairs and maintenance)
So I checked in to have my tyres and shocks replaced after 300,000 Kms.
I have 2 winter grade tyres to put on the front, then 3 new shocks (Got one before the hols)and a new tyre on the back. There was also such an imbalance on the front 2 wheels that I thought I might have a kink on one of the rims. So I brought a spare wheel with me in case.

You will be shocked to learn that the guys in the garage must all be on drugs.

They put odd tyres on each axle and balanced the alloy wheels with clip on weights which will fly off in no time.
Then I asked where my spare wheel was?
They said it was in the boot !
They had put the rim into the boot !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where is the good tyre from the wheel?

I thought it was candid camera when he said.

"I didn't think you needed the tyre on the wheel so I took it off !!!"
A good tyre, you took it off ? leaving me with the rim as a spare wheel?

There has to be a TV program in it. Where the car is fitted with hidden cameras and the garage is challenged at the end of the job and really exposed for what they are.

Some day I might explode    ....

So today I had to give a blood sample at the hospital, so I got up late and when I came home I changed my oil and filters, I did very little taxi work.

Over time trusting garages has cost me a lot of money.
I have learned that the very best way is just to do it yourself as far as you can.
Work charged for by the hour done by a Junior apprentice or not done at all.. Nuts not tightened up,  cheaper oils used,  charged for the gallon where 6 pints were used, filters not renewed but charged for...It all adds up.

When I was 18 I bought a socket set.
The first time I used it it had paid for itself, then it pays for itself again and again.
Tools when used pay for themselves every day.

My Fiat Scudo taxi.
I used to have serviced by "A professional"
One day I filled it up with petrol in error and drove it until it cut out!!!
Not just any working day.
It was the Friday before Christmas which fell on the following Wednesday.
(Plenty of time to fix things)
So I rang Paul in the garage.

He told me.

"Go to another garage. When I drop the bonnet on this car I am finished until the 2nd of Jan.
There's more than one garage in Dublin"

So all the business he had been getting from me was worth nothing to him!

I syphoned out the petrol myself and put it into my central heating oil tank.
Then I filled it up again with fresh diesel.
Then I cleared the petrol from the fuel lines and put in a new filter, next to purge the air out.
2 hours later from the start I turned the key and worked on through the night and on through Christmas and the New Year..
Never to darken Pauls garage door again.

A few years later we met again in a motor factors,
"I haven't seen you around, did you give up the taxi?"
"No Paul, I just found out that there was more than one garage in Dublin when I needed one most of all"
I said
He walked out of the motor factors without waiting on to be served.
I told the boss of the motor factors the story when he asked me and he said .
"Day by day he sows the seeds of his own destruction,
look after your customers or someone else will"

Some people think they can scam and rob people without any comeback.

Bad service kills all business...From the smallest to the biggest.
Go that little bit more to look after people and you have a customer for life.

Spec Savers are a prime example of the worst kind of service you can get.
No means of complaint.
The boys in Guernsey (their base)don't care either.
But the small claims court will listen to you.

Back to cars
Even modern engines with all that electronic gizmo system can be read by a relatively cheap tool.
$150 will buy you a small hand held system which will read and reset most faults.
The first time you use it its paid for.
Car mechanics mag. is a great read.. Look here

A fellow taxi driver called Paul (Good Paul) picked up a job and brought them into town,,,...€15 which he put into his shirt pocket..Later he went to get petrol and pulled the money from his shirt pocket only to find €55 there. A €50 folded is easily mistaken for a €10.
A simple mistake has been made !
Nothing could be proven but...................
Paul went back to the pick up address and gave the €40 back to the mans daughter.
The guy was really impressed by his honesty that he took Paul's number and he wants to use Paul for all his work in future.... What are the chances of a wealthy person handing back the money I wonder?

Perhaps the years are making me cynical, but I believe that the poor people look after the needy and the rich look after themselves..

 A taxi driver told me the other day that he got into a taxi at the airport to go home and the driver went all over the city pushing the €15 fair to €30+
He then asked the driver to waken up and "turn left...right ....straight on
Now stop at the lamp post where the house is with the taxi in the drive.

It is only a €15 from the airport to here,


I normally give €20 for the €15 journey.
Today you are getting €15 and tomorrow I am taking your receipt into the carriage office.

Why do you do it?

Is the business not fucked up enough that you have to add to the bad feeling that everyone has towards taxi drivers?"

The taxi driver just said

"You should have told me you wanted to go the other way instead."

The only car that Clarkeson ever loved..

Sunday, January 19, 2014

新年好 Or happy Chinese New Year

 A small harbour near Dingle Co.Kerry, those whale like things at Curraghs which are made from canvas, wood and tar..They ride the Atlantic waves like nothing else.(Video below)
   One of the Blasket islands.."The dead man"

The "Swiss Cheese" building in the East Wall area.

A little bit of information for you all.
In January only there is an exhibition of watercolors In the National gallery  click here to see

While my car was having her shock absorbers replaced the taxi drivers held a protest march on Dawson St..
Falling rank spaces
Incomes hitting rock bottom
Numbers of licenses issued rising without  any limit on the numbers.
Rising costs and no increases in 6 years.
Plus no elected person or body gives a damn about our plight...

Corruption in Ireland has been honed to a fine art.
A local charity called the Central Remedial Clinic which aids people who are mentally and physically challenged has been dragged into the limelight when their CEO Paul Kiely retired taking with him the most of €740K in pensions and backhanders.

All this at a time when services to its patients were being cut back..
No Santa in one regional center. They were told unless they did a fund raiser to cover the cost of the presets it would not happen..
Patients who are acutely handicapped were having to wait for physiotherapy,wheelchairs and special beds.
One boy was told that the taxi home service would be withdrawn, but they showed him how to use the bus!  He has great difficulty communicating and he was set upon by drug addicts and robbed when he arrived into the city center.
Now he is afraid to leave his room.
It is horrific in the extreme when the wages of people who are high up in the boards of charity's draw wages that would make a banker blush, while the people at the coal face work for nothing or a very small wage.
Sadly and worst of all people have withheld future donations and all charities are now suffering.

A few years ago a "Blogger" started writing about the carry on in the Irish Red Cross.
When they said they would sue him if he did not stop telling lies he stepped forward and spilled the beans on them. He was an employee.
Example 1
Blankets for a   in Afghanistan were needed, the guy suggested they be bought in Pakistan and shipped over the border...The big wigs decided to send out tenders for the supply and then fly them over, some months too late they arrived.
Another revelation was emergency funds collected had been lying in a provincial bank for years.
Resignations followed..

Remember boys and girls these people are paid to sit on these boards

This morning I picked up a lady who was in the car once a few years ago !
I remember her as if it was yesterday. Styles road Clontarf to Dublin Corporate Business Park.
€20 and around 40 mins run. All the way there I was saying that she should either change job or move to Blanchardstown. After she gave me her new destination I asked her if she was still working in Blanchardstown? No she said, I have a job in town now...She is a bright girl, I had told her that she would have no problem changing jobs. It looks like I was correct..
With a commute like she had in the past she should be saving around €150 per week.
Plus 4 hours longer in bed.
But today she has made the mistake that we all will make..Aldi has a special offer today.
Chinese Woks,Sauces and Noodles at a special price for the Chinese new year.
She was at the door at 9 AM..But on Sundays they open at 10AM.
Now she had to rush back...Chop Chop then back again to collect the goods lets hope that they have the stuff after all the effort.
Some people take cooking for fiends too seriously..They are looking at too much TV
Good luck with the cooking.

Time again to remind everyone about road safety.

The other day in Portmarnock a car collided with a woman and buggy.
The young woman was killed and the child in the buggy had both legs broken.

It only takes a few seconds to check your speed.

So this year as always..MIND YOURSELVES ON THE ROAD.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


 Cripps shoe shop Terenure...On the right hand side it reads "Happy Crippsness"
     Lovely old Irish pub on Fleet St
                    The Wright venue.
A huge night club it takes 500 patrons to allow them just to break even.

Today and yesterday I am resting.
Well my car has gone in for some remedial work. I had one shock sensor replaced a few weeks ago and new front hubs, then I noticed something else was wrong.
So I had to get new tyres and the other 3 shocks replaced.
Shock sensors have to be replaced in pairs or you will get an imbalance when driving.
Shocks stop your wheels bouncing while you drive. Then when they land on the road again they take rubber off the tyre. Plus you waste fuel  spinning the wheel in the air.

The Shocks work like bicycle pumps.

Anyhow with 300,000 Kms on the clock of my Prius it is about time something wore out,
When it comes back I will have winter grade tyres fitted.
Not snow tyres, these tyres are made from a softer rubber which is more flexible in cold weather.
On that subject. Did you know that the system used to make pneumatic tyres was first developed in Dublin in 1889, John Dunlop who then used them on his bicycle, not many cars in 1889.
The factory was on Upper Stephen Street. Now the Dunnes Stores HQ.

Someone told me the other day that I was a collector of people, (The way some people collect stamps)
I do meet people from all over the world and love to compare their features and their experience of life.
Once I had 2 Canadian women in the car who turned out to be Inuit people. Eskimo to you and me.
Their life is not so great with long dark winter nights and  their old native way of life is now gone.
I never met a native American except for Mike who I met online on line and when I went into the Smithsonian in New York. Click here..  Many stories are told about Ireland's past. One story is about when the settlers in America heard about the famine in Ireland they sent a few ship  loads of grain over to feed the people. Maize was sent over but the people did not know how to cook or prepare the gain. You cannot eat the outside shell of the grain or your stomach will suffer.
Another story is how the Navajo Indians won the war in the Pacific during the second World war.
Their language was so different that they could pass messages by radio from one tribe member to another tribe member at the other end. The Japanese could not crack the code.
One aspect of the story was that each code talker had a "Body Guard"
His task was to shoot the code talker if they got captured.Not to protect him..
A hell of a price for loyalty.
One last thing is about an orphan boy who had "Graduated" as a shoe maker from the Artaine boys home and went to America..He made his way West and he met up with a tribe of Indians who had bad shoes, so he joined up with the tribe. Through time he learned their language and was able to talk with them then he told them of his life and of the abuse he had suffered at the hands of the Clergy in Ireland. Sexual, mental. physical and moral abuse. When they got over the shock of his story they told him that anyone who would do such a thing in their tribe would be killed without mercy and they could not understand why it was allowed to happen in Ireland in the first place, worst of all by a man of God.
Then through time and talking they helped to heal him, it is strange how the Indian is shown to be the Savage.

There are many books on American Indian wisdom and culture to be found on Amazon, take a look.

A Chinese looking lady I met the other day had come from the "Stans" Kazakhstan to be exact.
Its right there south of Russia and west of Mongolia to the Caspian sea.
I wonder if she spoke Russian or Chinese. Mongolians speak Russian but look Chinese.
Or the very tall blue eyed lady from Ukraine (The bread basket of Russia)
You could imagine Attila the Hun and the Chinese explorers moving across the world and settling in all these countries, having children with the local people .
There was a TV program called "Who do you think you are ?" Where they explored peoples family tree, often the results were not as expected.
I wish Google would develop a "Tribes of the world" website where we could compare people from Sweden to the people from Kerry for example.
Even now a good proportion of Kerry people are descended from Germans who have come there in great numbers.
In a few years we will all have come together I hope.
Then there will be no more war !

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

By the way,have a great year

         Houses of snow heading back to the North Pole
                           3 Wise sheep bearing gifts
                                     A mock vintage van selling cakes
                       A canopy erected to remember queen Victoria's visit to Ireland

The postman was busy today, 2 letters from the same people.
The National Transport Authority telling me all about their Christmas opening times. A bit late with that one.
They are doing another survey with the public to ask them what they think, imagine using our money to find that the public would not like to pay more for taxi journeys.
The doctor never asked me if he could put up his charges.
Click here to go to their website.
They also propose to remove advertising from all taxis and roof signs.
So you will not be able to declare that you are a Cab2000 or a HailO taxi which will mean more people jumping into the wrong taxis. Over the entire world taxis and buses are used as mobile billboards.
It is extra income for the driver and extra business for everyone.
Will they be banning advertising on the Luas and the buses? No, just the taxis.
Well I hope they will repay the 100 per month that I currently get from HailO

One big thing I have against the way the taxi industry is being run at present is this.

Sunday night Heuston train station.
A a car pulls up and 3 guys get out wearing Hi Viz jackets.
They pull out their computer and clip board and 20 cars drive away from the rank.
Then they proceed to check all the guys who are remaining there.

They know by 2 things by the time they start what has just taken place.
1  All the illegal taxis have driven away.
2 Most of the taxis remaining will be checked out no problem.

So why do they not concentrate on catching the illegal drivers?
Surely after spending all this money the public deserves to to know that their daughter is not being driven home by a convicted rapist?
In Spain for example you must speak fluent Spanish and have lived in Spain for a fixed number of years before applying for a PSV license.
Its not about race or color.
It is to insure that the driver will have some minimum checkable record.
The story's I hear from passengers about rides from hell go on forever and they are about Irish drivers as well as foreign ones.
One Irish driver I know openly boasts about overcharging by as much as €20 in from the airport.
As long as this is allowed to continue the public will use taxis less and less.

But if those in power fail to act it will go on forever.

In Athens airport there is a big arrow "Taxis this way"
You go into an office and tell them where you are going and they take you money and give you a ticket to give to the taxi driver only on arrival. The driver has to go back to the office to be paid and you can tip him if he is worth it.
But you won't be robbed.
In New York taxis the sign says Mayor ************ welcomes you the city and tells you what the ballpark figure should be to your destination.
God help you if you get into a taxi in Cyprus without agreeing the cost first.
When the argument begins the other taxi drivers will gang together and start to protect the robbing driver.
Guess what ?
The police don't care one bit even though this attitude is damaging their tourist trade.

When I first applied for my taxi license I had to present my P45 paper (unemployed) then they took around 8 months to check out my past then a further few months before getting a date to do the test.
Even though many of the Garda working in the carriage office owned taxis which they rented out


2 young guys going home after a long nights work the other morning, working in a bar they had had a few drinks into the morning light.
I couldn't help joining into their conversation when I heard the subject they were talking about.
They are working in a 4 star hotel and there is a shortfall in the till over the Christmas period.
The "missing" sum amounts to €1,400
The manager has been told to hold on to all their tips until the shortfall has been made up.
I told them what my opinion was but I would double check, which I did.

If there is money missing then it is up to the police or the management to find the person responsible
It could even be a bookkeeping error.

But if the management take the tips from the staff that is defiantly theft and the newspapers and the Garda should be informed straight away.
I went down to the hotel last night and spoke to a barman who was on duty and after telling him the story he promised to pass it on.
It is easy to bully part time and foreign staff, so many people are looking for work now they send people home on a whim just to make the others jump into line.

As the old song goes "Things aint what they used to be"

The storms were something else, I was coming into Clontarf from town while the council workers were building sand bag defenses.
The traffic going into town was going at a snails pace. Then a young punk came speeding up  in the bus lane, a huge wave of water spraying up as he charged along. 2 council workers and a girl waiting at the bus shelter got soaked. But for once the Garda were there supervising.
Sirens sounded and they were on him in seconds.

It seldom happens. But what is seldom is wonderful.

This is what happens when you have too much time to spare.