Bal­ly­mote men caught driv­ing il­le­gal taxis

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

TWO men from Bal­ly­mote were caught red-handed driv­ing il­le­gal taxis after a dis­grun­tled le­gal taxi-driver tipped off the Na­tional Trans­port Au­thor­ity (NTA).

Sylvester Gil­li­gan (73), of Larkhill, Keash Road, Bal­ly­mote and Seamus Hogge (77) of Rath­doony Beg, Bal­ly­mote, both ap­peared be­fore Tub­ber­curry District Court last Wednesday 25 th July.

The men were tried sep­a­rately but both faced the same charge of driv­ing a car for fi­nan­cial re­ward with­out the car or them­selves hav­ing a pub­lic ser­vice ve­hi­cle li­cence, on 21st Novem­ber 2017 on Teel­ing Street, Tub­ber­curry.

Com­pli­ance Of­fi­cer with the NTA Eu­gene McHale told Judge Kevin Kil­rane that on the date in ques­tion, he was on duty in Bal­ly­mote and had “con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion” that Sylvester Gil­li­gan was driv­ing his car as a taxi with­out the re­quired li­cence.

He rang Gil­li­gan and or­dered a taxi to Tub­ber­curry.

He got into the car with Gil­li­gan and they ar­rived in Tub­ber­curry around 7pm.

Gil­li­gan charged Mr McHale ¤20 and was then asked by Mr McHale if he had a pub­lic ser­vice ve­hi­cle li­cence, to which he replied “no.”

“He was fully co-op­er­a­tive and gave me an un­der­tak­ing he would stop,” the wit­ness told the judge.

The court heard Gil­li­gan had no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions and the NTA made no ap­pli­ca­tions for costs against him. Mr Wil­liam Henry so­lic­i­tor, de­fend­ing, told the Judge Gil­li­gan was 73 years old and only used his car as a taxi for “oc­ca­sional so­cial pur­poses.”

He said his client was happy to give an un­der­tak­ing to the court never to drive again for fi­nan­cial gain.

“This is highly em­bar­rass­ing for him in his com­mu­nity,” he said.

Judge Kil­rane said Gil­li­gan wasn’t re­ally driv­ing full time for fi­nan­cial gain.

“There was an el­e­ment of get­ting out to meet peo­ple,” he said, and gave Gil­li­gan the ben­e­fit of the Pro­ba­tion Act.

In the sec­ond case, Mr Roger Mur­phy, NTA Com­pli­ance Of­fi­cer, told the court that Seamus Hogge charged him ¤20 after bring­ing him from Tub­ber­curry to Bal­ly­mote that day.

Mr Mur­phy said the NTA would be seek­ing costs of ¤300 in his case. Hogge, who has no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions and is 77 years old, walked with the aid of a crutch into court.

Mr Wil­liam Henry, de­fend­ing, said Hogge was a bach­e­lor and only drove his car for “so­cial pur­poses more than fi­nan­cial gain.”

Mr Mur­phy said Hogge was parked out­side a pub and “nu­mer­ous com­plaints were made by com­pli­ant taxi driv­ers who felt very ag­grieved.”

Judge Kil­rane told Hogge to bring ¤300 to court on 26 th Septem­ber and he would ap­ply the Pro­ba­tion Act on that date.

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