Police investigating the shooting of three men in Coventry have identified a taxi driver, following an appeal.
The three victims were attacked on Far Gosford Street on Thursday night, but have since been discharged from hospital.
At the time, officers said they believed the taxi driver could have valuable information. He is now helping with the inquiry.
West Midlands Police said no arrests had yet been made.
The force renewed an appeal for anyone with information to come forward.
Drivers have called on the government to introduce a range of measures to support the industry as they deal with the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The demonstration has been organised by the sectors’ four main unions, which represent tens of thousands of drivers across the country.
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.
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.
Tom McGeown, who has been a taxi driver in Dublin for 20 years, said drivers are facing “a lot of issues”. He was off the road for three and a half months and since he returned has only been getting about one-fifth of the work he did before the pandemic.
He told TheJournal.ie the issuing of new taxi licences should be suspended until work has returned to pre-pandemic levels and more supports are available for drivers.
“There are certain companies advertising for new drivers, claiming that they can make a living when other drivers are sitting at home. Why are they putting new licences on the road when current licences are actually on shelves in sheds?”
McGeown said it’s unfair to say taxi drivers are “not part of the transport infrastructure”, adding “we are the backbone of it”.
“When all other transport entities are in their beds, we’re driving people home. We need to be recognised a little bit more.”
McGeown said proposals to ban taxis from using some bus lanes in Dublin at certain times “would absolutely kill our business that’s already dead”.
“Business people like to travel in bus lanes because they want to get into work quickly, if there are no bus lanes for us it’s going force business people onto buses.”
Derek Jackson, who has driven taxis in the capital for over 20 years, added: “Nobody is going to get my taxi or Tom’s or any of the rest of the drivers here if they’re going to have to sit in normal traffic, you may as well sit in a bus, it’s not viable for people.”
He said if the government wants to reduce the environmental impact of cars, it should give taxi drivers subsidies to buy electric vehicles, rather than ban taxis from bus lanes.
Jackson said taxi drivers were here before many buses and the Luas but are the “ones to get pushed out” despite many people relying on them.
“There are loads of things wrong with the industry, the government are just not listening,” Jackson said. He noted that taxi drivers “were bringing people to hospitals and collecting PPE gear, bringing staff to nursing homes”, adding “there was no recognition for taxi drivers for that”.
“We were the ones that were doing it, Dublin Bus weren’t dropping people to work as far as right into the hospitals and right into the clinics and wherever people had appointments. We were the ones doing it. We were collecting prescriptions for pensioners. It’s very frustrating. It’s like nobody cares what we’re doing,” Jackson told us.
‘We need to feed our families’
Some of the drivers at the protest, including Ishtiaq Ahmad, worked overnight and came straight to the protest. Ahmad told TheJournal.ie he typically works at night but that business has been very slow recently.
“We need to live, that’s why we here, because we can’t make anything nowadays and we have families as well and need to feed them.”
A joint statement from the National Private Hire & Taxi Association (NPHTA), the Irish Taxi Drivers Federation (ITDF), the Taxi Alliance of Ireland (TAI) and Tiomanaí Tacsaí na hÉireann (TTNH) said taxi drivers “have been overlooked during this pandemic”.
Drivers are calling for the following:
A requirement to provide a financial package to help drivers get back to work. This should include a temporary weekly subsidy similar to wage subsidy given to employees. Grants to assist in fixed costs estimated by National Transport Authority at €11,433 per year and increased costs due to pandemic. Licence renewals should be issued free of charge and interest free loans should be made available.
The retention and continued access to bus lanes and access to quality bus corridors.
A moratorium on the issuing of taxi licences needs to be implemented until business levels start to approach pre-pandemic figures.
All vehicles in the fleet should be allowed a two-year extension on age limit requirements. This would allow cars to stay in the fleet up to 12 years old.
The Taxi Advisory Committee to be disbanded.
The statement adds: “The Taxi Advisory Committee is not fit for purpose. This was highlighted through our appearance during our submission to the Covid (Oireachtas) committee.
“Recently two representatives resigned from the Taxi Advisory Committee when it became apparent the department of transport would not accept the advice given by the committee. The TAC needs to be disbanded for a national transport forum allowing all bodies who use the public roads a forum to input positively to the transport system of Ireland.”
An overweight taxi driver has shed four stone after struggling to fit into a suit to attend his mother-in-law’s funeral. He was "embarrassed" at his reflection in the mirror after squeezing into the ill-fitting black suit.
Billy Gray, 54, had piled on the pounds by eating fast food and high calorie treats and tipped the scales at a hefty 23 stone. He says that he struggled to carry out everyday tasks such tying his shoelaces and walking up stairs.
The day after the funeral Billy signed up to a healthy eating and exercise plan devised by fitness professional Daniel Renton. His wife Lesley, 52, joined him and together the couple have lost more than five stone between them in just 14 weeks.
The couple from Prestonpans, East Lothian, are also the talk of their hometown after a video of them chatting about their new lifestyle went viral and has at the last count been viewed more than 6000 times.
Billy said: "Signing up to Daniel's course has really been a lifesaver for us. We were quite lazy in our eating and were getting bigger and less healthy each year.
"Lesley was really keen too, so we contacted Daniel and he put an exercise and healthy eating plan into place for us - it really has been life changing.
"The lockdown came at a good time for us and we could concentrate on ourselves and our health and we have been amazed at the progress we have made.
"I feel so good at the moment having lost the weight and we have also grown closer as a couple as we are doing a lot more things together now."
Lesley added: "We have got a long way to go to reach our target but the last few months have really changed our lives. We are a lot happier and our mental health has improved so much.
"We are really enjoying the healthy meals and the exercise is doing us the world of good.
"It is just a matter of being sensible and we can still treat ourselves once in a while which also helps."
Lesley added: "People have asked us the cost of the course but just we say you can't put a price on your health - money is no good to you if you can't spend it.”
A taxi driver was left unable to drive after he was repeatedly punched in the face in a savage attack by one of his passengers.
On August 17, at around 9.30pm, a taxi driver is reported to have been driving four men from Thrybergh towards East Dene in Rotherham.
The taxi stopped at an address in Grange Lane, Maltby, where three of the four passengers got out.
Then the remaining man is reported to have assaulted the driver, punching him repeatedly in the face.
He was removed from the taxi but the victim was unable to drive away from the scene.
They think he may be able to help with the investigation.
If you recognise him or you have any information that could help officers you are asked to contact South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting crime reference number 14/123000/20.
A 16-year-old boy has been convicted of production of a knife as a weapon and threatening to kill or cause serious harm. The court was told that in October 2018 the teenager held a knife against a taxi driver’s neck and threatened to “cut his head off” during a terrifying incident in Dublin.
He was also found guilty of possessing a flick knife on a later date.
Judge Treasa Kelly described the incident as “horrendous” as she adjourned sentencing at the Dublin Children’s Court for the accused to complete an anger-management course.
Garda Barry Brennan told the court the taxi driver collected the youth and his girlfriend who was dropped off first, in Ballinteer, Dublin 16. There was then an argument over the fare and the boy “produced a large knife and held it against the neck of the taxi driver and threatened to cut him up”.
They got out of the car and a scuffle ensued as the driver tried to alert gardai but his phone got cut off.
The teenager “threatened to cut his head off if he didn’t bring him to Tallaght”, Judge Kelly was told. However, gardai then arrived at the scene.
The court was also provided with a victim impact statement in which the driver recalled thinking, “I was not going to come out alive” and he was "extremely terrified".
The man is on tablets because he now has trouble sleeping, the court was told.
The teenager remains on bail. The case resumes in November.