A Milford man was caught operating an illegal taxi when Gardai and a taxi regulator set up a sting operation.
Bernard Crossan was fined at Letterkenny District Court.
Sergeant Vincent Muldoon told how an undercover operation was put in place due to a ‘number of complaints’ that were made to both An Garda Siochana and the Taxi Regulator.
Crossan, a 60-year-old of Lough Fern Heights, took payment of €10 when officers booked a taxi from Milford to the Silver Tassie Hotel on February 11 2022.
Six days later, a similar operation was put in place and Crossan took a €10 payment for the journey in his Daihatsu Terios.
Sergeant Muldoon told the court that he subsequently contacted Crossan and brought the matter to his attention.
The acused voluntarily attended Milford Garda Station, where he admitted that he did not have insurance to carry passengers for reward. Under caution at the Garda station, Crossan admitted the runs, but said that he did have insurance on the car.
Mr Patsy Gallagher, solicitor for Crossan, asked the court to take a ‘practical view’ of the matter.
“He has been dealt with by the Taxi Regulator,” Mr Gallagher said. “It is an argument for another day whether, if there was an accident, would the insurance have covered. He had no commercial insurance and that is accepted.”
The court was told that Crossan has no previous convictions.
Sergeant Muldoon said that, when interviewed, Crossan gave the impression that there were no taxis operating in the area and people were ‘ringing him for a lift home’.
Mr Gallagher said his client has had health issues and said the area in question is not serviced by much public transport. He asked the court not to put his client off the road and said it was likely that complaints had come from ‘other parties’.
Judge Éiteáin Cunningham convicted Crossan and fined him €200, allowing six months to pay. Taking note that Crossan had no previous convictions and the ‘special circumstances’ regarding the accused’s health, Judge Cunningham did not impose a disqualification.