An Inishowen man who illegally operated as a taxi driver has been given the opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction.

Edward McLaughlin (69) of Dunaff, Clonmany was before Carndonagh District Court where he pleaded guilty to the charge brought against him by the National Transport Authority (NTA).

Mr Gerry Burke, NTA Compliance Officer, gave evidence that, along with a number of colleagues, he was investigating the illegal use of vehicles as unlicensed taxis in the Clonmany area on February 10, 2018.

Mr Burke told Judge Paul Kelly that he approached a vehicle and asked the driver, McLaughlin, if he was a taxi operator, to which the defendant responded ‘yes’.

Judge Kelly heard that Mr Burke and his colleagues hired the defendant to take them to Ballyliffin and noted that there was no taxi operator identification displayed.

The court heard that after being cautioned by Mr Burke, McLaughlin made certain admissions to the compliance officer, admitting that his vehicle was being used as a taxi without a taxi licence and that he did not have a taxi operator licence.

Asking the judge for leniency, Solicitor, Ray Lannon said his client was a single pensioner and part-time farmer who lived in a very rural area of Dunaff.

Mr Lannon said McLaughlin did a lot for his neighbours, taking them to mass and on other runs and was otherwise ‘a good law-abiding citizen’.

Judge Kelly adjourned the case to January 15, noting that if McLaughlin paid the prosecution costs, he would apply the Probation Act.


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