road rage | 

Shocking video shows assault on taxi driver in Drogheda but he vows to continue working

“My initial attacker must have landed up to thirty blows on me before I said to myself, 'I have to get away for my own safety'.”

Paul Byrne after the incident

Paul Byrne after the incident

Gerry HandSunday World

A taxi driver has claimed “nobody gives a damn about us” after he was viciously attacked by a young woman in the early hours of last Sunday morning.

It is the second savage attack the 56-year-old driver has endured in recent times as five years ago a man was jailed for 30 months for attacking him as he waited for a fare outside a railway station.

Paul Byrne, from Duleek, county Meath was repeatedly punched after he refused to take a fare because the man was covered in blood after an earlier fight.

Footage of the incident, in Drogheda, has been widely shared on social media and Paul revealed how the fact he was wearing a seat belt left him a sitting duck.

On the footage one woman can be heard to scream, “get the f***k........................f**k off” and a man is knocked spark out.

A taxi was viciously attacked by a furious female in the early hours of last Sunday morning

He told the Sunday World: “That is the bizarre thing about what happened last Sunday, I don't usually work in Drogheda any more after the first attack, I generally work around the Ashbourne area but my partner was arriving home late from a show in Dublin so I drove to Drogheda to collect her and decided to finish my shift there.

“I was the only car on the rank in Peter Street and two males and a female got in, as they did I heard another woman screaming further back up the street.

“That woman came running down shouting for my fares to allow her friend to travel home but they ignored her and she then started ranting at me to let him in, I looked at the guy and he was covered in blood and actually still bleeding so said no.

“She then yanked the drivers door open and started raining punches into my face the seat belt held me in and kind of made me a sitting duck, at one point she dropped her phone and I grabbed it thinking she might just ask for it back and leave but that seemed to make her angrier.

Paul Byrne after the incident

“Then her female friend got in the passenger door and started hitting me as well.

“My initial attacker must have landed up to thirty blows on me before I said to myself, 'I have to get away for my own safety', that is when I got out of the car.”

The taxi driver said he did his best to keep his cool.

“In the video footage you can see that when I got out she caught me with two decent right hooks but I never reacted.

“The next thing was another taxi pulled up the far side of the road and a guy got out and came over and he ended up shoving her male friend on to the ground and knocking him out cold.”

He said he then called the gardai “who in fairness were on the scene inside five minutes”.

Paul admits the two attacks have rattled him

“After the first one, which happened when I told a man he couldn't drink beer in my cab, I had to get surgery on the tendons in my shoulder and lost a tooth and this did bring back memories of that.

“Eamon Ryan recently announced a 12% increase in taxi fares in a bid to get more taxis working nights but when you see something like this happening, and it happens far more often than people hear about no money would pay you.

“Friends have asked me will I put a screen between myself and the back seat passengers and I won't because if I want to relax I have to be able to let my seat back, what I will do though is put a protective screen around the driver seat.

I think its sad that needs to be done but it does, this won't stop me working but it has shaken me.”

The Mayor of Drogheda Michelle Hall said: “A taxi driver earning a living shouldn't have to put up with this.”

One of the women arrested in relation to the incident is due in court next month.

A Garda spokesperson confirmed: “Gardaí arrested a woman in her 20s following an incident of assault on Peter Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth at approximately 2.45am on Saturday 23rd October 2022.

“The woman was later charged in relation to the incident and is due to appear at Drogheda District Court on 14th November 2022.”

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