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lost livelihood OAP taxi driver loses his livelihood after allegedly acting as a drug courier for criminal gang

Charles Jimmy Carr (67), who has previously campaigned for marriage equality, now finds himself in the eye of a storm of publicity for an altogether different reason.

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Charles Carr is alleged to have brought drugs to Longford over a period of eight to ten months

Charles Carr is alleged to have brought drugs to Longford over a period of eight to ten months

Gardai say Carr told them he made trips once or twice a week for months

Gardai say Carr told them he made trips once or twice a week for months

Carr told our reporter Patrick that he may challenge the decision.

Carr told our reporter Patrick that he may challenge the decision.

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Charles Carr is alleged to have brought drugs to Longford over a period of eight to ten months

Meet the pensioner taxi driver who has lost his livelihood after it was alleged in court he acted as a drug courier for a criminal gang.

Charles Jimmy Carr (67), who has previously campaigned for marriage equality, now finds himself in the eye of a storm of publicity for an altogether different reason.

The Longford taxi driver was refused the renewal of his taxi licence after gardai alleged he had transported drugs from Dublin to Longford once a week for a period of 10 months.

It was alleged gardai stumbled upon his involvement after he was stopped by officers on July 15, 2020 and a package, estimated to contain €20,000 worth of cannabis and €30,000 worth of cocaine, was discovered on the back seat.

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Gardai say Carr told them he made trips once or twice a week for months

Gardai say Carr told them he made trips once or twice a week for months

Gardai say Carr told them he made trips once or twice a week for months

Approached outside his home in MacEoin Park, Longford on Wednesday, the pensioner cabbie told the Sunday World: "I can't say anything right now - there may be an appeal.

"Are you with the [Longford] Leader?"

When our reporter responded that he was with the Sunday World, Carr said: "Oh, that's the first time I've been interviewed by them. Give me a number. I'll get back to you."

At Tuesday's hearing, Carr appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes at Longford District Court to appeal the refusal of the renewal of his taxi licence.

Inspector Paddy McGirl, for the State, explained that the garda objection was based solely on Section 10(2)(a) of the Taxi Regulation Act of 2013, which deals with whether the applicant is of good character.

Carr, the court heard, was appearing to appeal the refusal of his taxi licence but was also facing two other charges for possession of drugs with intent to distribute.

Both of those charges are pending a certificate of analysis and have been adjourned to May 11, 2021.

Giving evidence, Garda Brian Carroll of Longford Garda Station explained that on July 15, 2020, at 8.05pm, gardai were conducting an intelligence-led operation at Shroid, Longford, and stopped a vehicle, which was driven by Carr.

Carr gave gardai his name and address and when asked if there was anything in his car, he admitted that there was a package on the back seat.

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Carr told our reporter Patrick that he may challenge the decision.

Carr told our reporter Patrick that he may challenge the decision.

Carr told our reporter Patrick that he may challenge the decision.

Gardai conducted a search of the vehicle and recovered the package.

When gardai inspected the package, they discovered a vacuum-packed bag containing one kilo of cannabis and a large quantity of white powder which they suspected to be cocaine in a separate plastic bag.

The estimated value of the illegal drugs discovered in the car was €20,000 worth of cannabis and €30,000 worth of cocaine.

"In the first interview, he admitted he'd travelled to Dublin on a number of occasions over a period of eight to ten months," said Garda Carroll.

"He said he'd travelled once weekly or a couple of times on the odd week.

"He refused to tell us who he visited or who he gave the package to, but admitted he drove to Longford and delivered the packages to different parts of Longford town and received money in return."

Carr was receiving between €200 and €400 for delivering the packages, Garda Carroll explained.

Cross-examining the witness, solicitor John Quinn, asked if Carr had let Garda Carroll know that he was under threat.

"He stated that he was in fear," Garda Carroll confirmed.

"Did he mention that there was a history of a person being seriously maimed or killed?" Mr Quinn asked.

"He stated he was friendly with a male who is now deceased," said Garda Carroll, referring to a man of foreign nationality who had lived in Longford previously and who had been murdered in Dublin approximately 18 months ago.

The man, the court heard, had been driven around in Carr's taxi.

When called to the witness box, Chief Superintendent Tony Healy explained that he is the licensing authority in the district and that he refused Carr's application for the renewal of his taxi licence based on Section 10(2)(a) of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

When asked to outline his consideration and rationale for this decision, Chief Supt Healy explained that Carr is facing a section 3 possession of drugs charge, as well as one count of possession of drugs with intent to distribute under section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

"The value of drugs was in the region of €50,000, which is a substantial amount of illegal drugs," said Chief Supt Healy.

"I considered the admission that his involvement was over a period of ten months, that he had received payment and that he was distributing drugs to a number of addresses.

"I did not deem him of suitable character. Taxi drivers are in a position of extreme trust within the community. They interact with the public on a daily basis, so it was a matter of public safety."

Judge Hughes, having heard the evidence, refused to grant Carr his taxi licence.

"You're not a person of good character. You got involved and you did it for money.

"You're going to pay the ultimate price of losing the entitlement to make a living as a taxi driver," he said.

The criminal charges Carr is facing will come back before Longford District Court on May 11, 2021, when DPP directions will be available.

This week, prior to the Sunday World approaching Carr, we observed him driving his vehicle which still has taxi signage on the sides of the vehicle.

However, he was not displaying a taxi plate and he was not transporting passengers.


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