A Longford taxi driver who allegedly transported drugs from Dublin to Longford once a week for a period of ten months has been refused the renewal of his taxi licence.
Charles James Carr (67), with an address in MacEoin Park, Longford, appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes at Longford District Court this morning to appeal the refusal of the renewal of his taxi licence.
Inspector Paddy McGirl, for the state, explained that the garda objection was based solely on Section 10(2)(a) of the Taxi Regulation Act of 2013, which deals with whether the applicant is of good character.
Mr Carr appeared in court to appeal the refusal of his taxi licence but was also facing two other charges for possession of drugs with intent to distribute. Both of those charges are pending a certificate of analysis and have been adjourned to May 11, 2021.
Solicitor for the accused, John Quinn, explained that his client would be pleading not guilty to the charges and requested that restrictions be placed on the media in the reporting of this case. Judge Hughes, however, said that he would not be prohibiting the press from reporting the appeal.
“The Circuit Court Judge is well capable of giving him a fair trial. I’m not restricting the press. I’m giving full reportage,” said Judge Hughes.
When called to the witness box, Chief Superintendent Tony Healy explained that he is the licencing authority in the district and that he refused Mr Carr’s application for the renewal of his taxi licence based on Section 10(2)(a) of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.
When asked to outline his consideration and rationale for this decision, Chief Supt Healy explained that Mr Carr is facing a section 3 possession of drugs charge, as well as one count of possession of drugs with intent to distribute under section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
“The value of drugs was in the region of €50,000, which is a substantial amount of illegal drugs,” said Chief Supt Healy.
“I did not deem him of suitable character. Taxi drivers are in a position of extreme trust within the community. They interact with the public on a daily basis, so it was a matter of public safety.”
Following a lengthy appeal hearing, Judge Hughes refused to allow the renewal of Mr Carr's taxi licence.
"With your drug distribution, you have caused untold grief to mothers and fathers who are trying to keep their children off drugs.
"But you’re being used and abused. You’re on the last rung of the ladder. You now are going out of business and you will be replaced. I’m not going to start giving you a lecture because I’m not qualified to give you a lecture. But this is your appeal and you’ve lost it,” he concluded.
The criminal charges Mr Carr is facing will come back before Longford District Court on May 11, 2021, when DPP directions will be available.
See next week's Longford Leader for the entire report.