Limerick garda chief refuses taxi application from convicted drug dealer

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Refusal: Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche

Refusal: Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche

A REPRESENTATIVE of the Irish Taxi Drivers Federation has given evidence in court in support of a convicted drug dealer who is seeking a PSV licence to operate a taxi in Limerick city.

Anthony Campion, 29,  from Ballinacurra Weston has appealed the decision of Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche to refuse his application.

Chief Supt Roche told Limerick District Court the applicant has 37 previous convictions and that he does not believe he is a suitable person to hold a PSV licence.

Judge Marian O’Leary was told Mr Campion, whose parents are taxi drivers in Limerick and in Cobh, County Cork, passed the theory test late last year and that he submitted his application for a licence after Christmas.

Chief Supt Roche said having considered the application and having met with the applicant in person, he formally refused the application in April of this year.

He said his previous convictions, including a number for drug-related offences, were a concern as was his past use of drugs and alcohol. He said there is also one minor drugs charge still before the courts.

Chief Supt Roche agreed with barrister Cian Kelly that Mr Campion can still make a good contribution to society but not as a PSV holder. “I appreciate all his efforts but I have to consider if having a PSV licence is the way to go,” he said.

In his evidence, the applicant insisted he has made significant changes in his life in recent years – since his daughter was born.

”I take responsibility for my actions, I made bad mistakes and they should not have happened. I put my hands up,” he said.

While Mr Campion has been employed as a barman in the city, he says he wants to pursue a career as a taxi driver.

Being questioned by Inspector Paul Reidy, the applicant insisted he had mistakenly not included details of his previous convictions in the PSV application he submitted to Chief Supt Roche.

While accepting, he had not filled in the relevant section on the form, he said he attached a print out of his records from the Garda Pulse system.

“I wasn’t hiding anything,” he adding: “I think I deserve a second chance to go out to work.”

Mr Campion’s mother, Elizabeth Benson, told the court her son is a changed man since he stopped drinking and that she was happy to support him in his efforts to secure a licence.

“He will have to work fierce hard if it is granted,” she said adding that Anthony is the only one of her children who has an interest in becoming a taxi driver.

Kieran Canty, a local representative with the Irish Taxi Drivers Federation, said he was first approached by Mr Campion last November.

He confirmed he was aware of his previous convictions but said he believes the applicant is making genuine efforts to go in a positive direction.

He told the court he is aware of other people with criminal convictions who have been granted PSV licences and that he believes every applicant is entitled to have their own case dealt with on its merits.

“Based on the family background and knowledge (of the industry) and his temperament, I believe he is suitable,” he said.

Having considered submissions, Judge O’Leary reserved judgment.