A CITY taxi driver was hospitalised after a “savage attack” that saw him left for dead on the side of the road in the Newport area in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The cab driver, who is from the northside of the city but does not wish to be named, was stabbed in the chest and head with a knife and screwdriver by two men he picked up from his base at Treaty Cabs on Davis Street shortly before 1am on Saturday morning.
The taxi driver was dumped from the car in the Newport area and the car stolen. It was later recovered in the Hyde Road area of the city.
The base operator in Treaty Cabs became concerned when the cab driver did not answer his phone and alerted the authorities. The taxi driver was hospitalised but was released the following day.
Gardai from Newport and Templemore are leading the investigation and the Garda Press Office told the Limerick Leader that they were seeking two men, thought to be from the Limerick area.
Both males are described as being in their early 20s. The first had black hair, close cut and wiry, a slight build about 5ft 7in, was wearing a black tracksuit with a white stripe and a grey sweatshirt inside. The second is described as having mousy hair, close-cut and wearing white runners, white socks and a black tracksuit. One of the men has been captured on CCTV and is understood to be known to gardai.
Jude Williams, owner of Treaty Cabs, said the driver who was attacked has been with the firm for more than six years.
“It was a savage attack. Thank God he is OK. He is tough out. They left him for dead on the side of the road,” said Mr Williams. “It was attempted murder. He was trying to do an honest day’s work and this happens. Another centimetre or so and he would have been dead.”
Mr Williams said that the security of taxi drivers was a “major concern”.
“This is happening every day of the weekend, some assaults are only minor that you would never get to hear of them. Taxi drivers are being abused and assaulted every day of the week all over the country, it is not just Limerick. The main thing is that there is no protection in a taxi,” he explained.
“I know everything is blamed on the Government these days, but they brought out a big report on the taxi industry, spent hundreds of thousands on it and not one mention of safety for taxi drivers, or access for disabled people,” he continued.
“What we should be driving are London taxis with protection for the driver that are wheelchair-friendly. There is no taxi driver that can afford one of those. If the government removed VRT and VAT, that would make them affordable.”