They set off at 10am this morning.
UP TO 400 taxi drivers took part in a protest in Cork against what they described as poor working conditions and a lack of clarity from Government over a financial package which would get drivers back to work.
The cavalcade left Mahon before heading towards the Jack Lynch Tunnel before finishing on the South Mall in the city centre. The protest caused significant traffic disruption, the AA said.
The demonstration was organised by the Cork Taxi Council. Other demands being made by the protesting drivers include that the establishment of a moratorium on new licenses, financial help with personal protective equipment as well as the age limit on cars being extended from 10 to 12 years.
Solidarity TD Mick Barry said frontline workers should not have to be forced to protest on the streets and demanded that the Government enter into a real dialogue with the country’s taxi drivers.
Barry said: “Taxi drivers are frontline workers. They drive many of our doctors and nurses to the hospitals. They drive many other people to their Covid tests. The Government needs to stop ignoring their appeals for help and start listening to what they have to say.”
Many taxi drivers were off the road for months during the pandemic and those who are back at work say business is only about 20% of what it would typically be.
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They believe the taxi industry has been largely ignored while other sectors have received support from the government, adding that high insurance costs and plans to ban taxis from some bus lanes could force drivers off the road for good.
A large taxi protest took place in Dublin on September 15. At the time, Tony Rowe, taxi driver and chairman of the National Transport Assembly, told TheJournal.ie that drivers are “leaving the industry in droves”.
“There has probably been an over 70% fall-off in demand for taxis, there’s still very little work even though some things are opened back up,” he said.