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FARE-well Taxi driver who double-charged passenger has lost job due to heroin addiction

Hennessy, the court heard, had two prior convictions for taxi regulation offences for operating a meter without moving and failing to link his details to a vehicle.

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Lee Hennessy had built up debts due to his drug use.

Lee Hennessy had built up debts due to his drug use.

Lee Hennessy had built up debts due to his drug use.

THE ROGUE taxi-driver who double-charged a passenger travelling from the airport is no longer in the trade after losing his livelihood because of an addiction to heroin.

Father-of-four Lee Hennessy (47) was this week fined €300 and hit with €350 in costs and witness expenses for charging a passenger more than double the standard fare after collecting her from Dublin Airport.

Hennessy, the court heard, had two prior convictions for taxi regulation offences for operating a meter without moving and failing to link his details to a vehicle.

At the sitting, Hennessy's address was given as Barnewall Avenue in Dublin but when the Sunday World called to the address this week, the occupant said she wished to have it made public that Hennessy hasn't lived at the address for more than four years.

In May of this year, the disintegration of Hennessy's life as a result of heroin addiction was detailed before Dublin District Court.

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Heroin stock photo

Heroin stock photo

Heroin stock photo

Hennessy, who was brought before the court on that occasion on a charge of shoplifting, had been caught using an empty cornflakes box lined with tin foil to try to beat store security sensors at Dunnes Stores in the Ilac Centre on January 30 this year.

The court heard he lost his job and home and become a heroin addict in the space of two years.

Judge Bryan Smyth was told Hennessy ran from gardaí when approached and was found with stolen goods in the modified cereal box.

Hennessy who, at that sitting, provided an address at Leinster Street, in Dublin 7, pleaded guilty to stealing and possession of a tin-foil-lined cornflakes box for use in the course of a theft.

Outlining her client's circumstances, solicitor Yvonne Bambury said heroin addict Hennessy had ended up living in his car after leaving the family home.

He built up debts as a result of his heroin use and "this (the shoplifting) was suggested to him" as a way of paying, Ms Bambury told the court.

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The accused had worked all his life as a taxi driver but was not able to pay the cost of his licence and lost his right to work, the court heard.

Hennessy's double charging of a passenger at Dublin airport pre-dated May's court appearance.

On Monday, HSE worker Donna Murphy told Judge Anthony Halpin in the District Court that she had been collected by a taxi outside Terminal 1 and she had asked to be brought to Ashtown in Dublin 15.

She said she noticed €27.40 on the meter when she was just under 500 yards from home.

Hennessy then switched it off without explanation and told her the fare was €44 when he reached her building less than a minute later, she told the court.

The witness said she thought he told her €24, but "he said no, €44, four-four, I didn't argue."

She claimed the driver gave her three blank receipts and told her "to fill in whatever I wanted to". The meter was still blank, she alleged. She went into her home and made a complaint.

NTA compliance officer Martin Bates told the court he ran a test journey along the same route; the maximum fare should have been €20.80.

Judge Halpin convicted Hennessy and fined him €300. The judge also ordered him to pay the same amount toward prosecution costs and €50 to the complainant.

On Tuesday, the National Transport Authority which as the taxi regulator took the case against Hennessy, said it was passing a file to the Garda, which is the authority that revokes drivers' licences.

In a statement, the NTA said while it had taken the decision to prosecute in the taken to prosecute, and the prosecution had resulted in a conviction: "Under the Taxi Regulation Acts 2013 and 2016, the licensing authority for SPSV drivers is An Garda Síochána and the power to revoke or suspend taxi driver licences rests with them".

The NTA said Gardaí " are aware of this conviction and a formal report will be submitted to them in the coming days so that a decision can be made with regard to the SPSV Driver Licence."

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