Friday, 17 July 2009

Looney Slams “Conservative Clique” on Council

Cllr Dermot Looney, a Labour Party representative on South Dublin County Council (SDCC), has slammed the “new conservative clique” of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael on the Council. Looney’s comments come in the wake of a Labour motion on suspending the issuing of new taxi licenses at the July meeting of the Council.

The motion, proposed by Cllr Eamonn Maloney, called on the Transport Minister Noel Dempsey to instruct the Taxi Regulator to suspend the issuing of taxi licenses immediately. Debate on the motion centred on the pressures put on local taxi drivers by deregulation. The motion was passed by 13-9 with the support of the Labour Party, Sinn Féin and PBPA Councillor, but was opposed by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

Speaking during the debate, Cllr Looney noted that while no-one wanted to see a dearth of taxis similar to pre-2000 levels, the philosophy of deregulation had failed taxi drivers and endangered the drivers themselves and their passengers. Looney called for a suspension of license issuing until a new regulatory framework was put in place which would ensure a strict inspection regime, rigorous new entry standards and a pathway to achieving a wheelchair accessible fleet.

“The passing of this motion sends a strong message to government from South Dublin – we’ve had enough of the deregulation philosophy that has caused so much pain both in the taxi industry and in society in general,” noted Looney.

"That Fianna Fáil’s Councillors opposed this motion is no surprise. After all, their policies have led to the dangerous over-supply of taxis in Dublin to such a point that we now have more taxis than New York City.”

“Fine Gael’s acquiescence with their fellow-travellers in Fianna Fáil will come as a surprise to some. However, the charge against the Labour motion, led by Cllr Colm Brophy, came with an out-of-touch political ideology that continues to believe, despite all we’ve seen, that the market is king.”

“Taxi drivers and their families, as well as passengers and the general public, should be mindful of this right-wing claptrap when considering their political support. Labour have again shown that we are the real alternative with serious ideas about reforming and securing the taxi industry.”