A CITY taxi driver had a gun held to his head and was robbed of his takings during a horrific three-hour ordeal in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Now there is mounting concern in the trade after what is the third disturbing incident involving threats or violence against taxi drivers to take place in the Ballinacurra Weston/Prospect area over the past month.
A man in his 20s was being detained at Roxboro Garda Station on Sunday night in connection with the latest incident.
The ordeal began at around 1am on Saturday when the taxi driver – who is believed to be Asian and aged in his early 40s – picked up a fare in the Ballinacurra Weston area of the city. The passenger then produced a gun and forced the driver to take him to various points around the city.
A spokesman at Roxboro Garda Station said the taxi driver had told them the ordeal did not come to an end until 4am or 5am. The passenger ordered the driver back to the Weston area and robbed him of a small sum of money before making his escape. Gardai were informed later in the morning.
“The taxi driver was uninjured as a result of this incident but was obviously very badly shaken up. The incident is being investigated and one man has been arrested,” a Garda spokesman said.
This is the third attack on taxi drivers to take place in the area in the last number of weeks. On January 14, a taxi was called to a house in Prospect and the driver was threatened by a man wielding a knife. The driver fled the area and alerted gardai. Officers spent up to an hour negotiating with the suspect who left the house with a knife in his hand. Members of the armed Regional Support Unit used a tazer gun before arresting him.
Also last month, a driver was hospitalised after being attacked with a meat cleaver and robbed in the Raheen Square area. A taxi source said the driver was lucky to escape more serious injury after the weapon was swung at his head. The driver was injured in the arm after putting it up in self-defence. The victim, a Moyross man in his 60s, has not worked since the incident.
Philip Hayes, Limerick Taxi Drivers Association, said he was unfamiliar with Saturday morning’s incident with the gun but expressed concern that “attacks on drivers seem to be on the rise over the last while”.
Separately, gardai have been made aware of an alleged assault at Limerick Prison on Friday during which a relative of some of the city’s most notorious criminals was injured and taken to hospital. The incident is not related to criminal feuding, gardai and the Prison Service stressed.
David Dundon – who is from the Southill area - is a cousin of criminal brothers Wayne, John, Dessie and Ger Dundon but has not been involved in serious criminality, sources said.
It is understood that Dundon was in the exercise yard of the prison on Friday afternoon when he was set upon by another inmate.Reports that he was stabbed were dismissed by a spokesman for the Prison Service, who said the injured party was struck in the back of the head with a cup and had suffered a gash.
“He was treated locally at the prison but he was also taken to hospital as a precaution,” the spokesman said.
The injury is not believed to be serious and it is understood Dundon was back in his cell in Mulgrave Street on Friday night. The prison spokesman said any such incident involving an alleged assault on an inmate was taken seriously and investigated by the prison authorities and gardai were also informed.