Sunday, September 30, 2012

Taxis against trafficking

Two times I spent time trying stop young girls being exploited and both times I came up against a stone wall.
One girl was punched and knocked out then thrown into the boot of a car. The Garda wouldn't even take the reg of the car.
He told me that they would need a missing persons report before they could act.


Posted by Stop the Traffik on Fri, 14 Sep 2012 08:53:11 +0000

What do you usually talk to taxi drivers about? The weather? Plans for the weekend? The football results? One of our activists happened to mention to her taxi driver that she’d just been to an ACT meeting….

 “One day I got talking to my taxi driver, and after I mentioned human trafficking he revealed that he suspected one of his passengers might have been a trafficking victim. 
I went back to my community group and everyone agreed there was great potential to raise awareness with taxi drivers. We designed a sticker that drivers could put in their taxis with information about trafficking, and a helpline to call.”
Brenda, ACT Liverpool
Had you ever pondered the link between taxis and trafficking? It’s been widely reported that traffickers use taxis to transport their victims. Taxi drivers might well be the only people to come into contact with a trafficked person and therefore they could play a key role in identifying and reporting suspicious activity. Unfortunately, taxi drivers may not know which signs might indicate that someone is a victim and what to do if they spot them.
The 18th October is Anti-Slavery Day. We want to use this global day of action as an opportunity to make a difference. We want taxi drivers in villages, towns and cities around the world to be made aware of the issues surrounding human trafficking and how they can help.
This is where you come in. Not only do taxi drivers have a wealth of community information, they also enjoy a well-deserved tea break. And so we’d like you to give our taxi drivers a little treat.
Here’s how it’ll work:
1)                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Head down to your local taxi rank and take with you some light refreshments
2)                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Whilst taxi drivers are waiting for passengers, offer them a cup of tea and ask them if they would mind taking part in our questionnaire
3)                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Once you’ve spoken to your taxi drivers, ask if they’d be happy to put our sticker up in their taxi (the sticker has number they can call if they’re concerned about something they see)
So who knew?… By taking your local cabbies a cuppa and a biscuit you could be saving lives.
You can buy our stickers from our online shop. Here are some fundraising ideas to use with your school, colleagues, faith group or friends - Fundraising ideas You could even ask your local media to support the campaign.
We’ve currently got stickers for taxis in the UK and India, but if you’d like us to translate or contextualise stickers for your country please let us know! Email us at

Friday, September 28, 2012

No angel at the crossroads

While I am driving I am looking all the time, looking for my next job, looking for blockages in traffic and looking for people who would walk right out in front of you.

Yesterday I was out of the car for a while when I saw them.

First a girl around 20 with 2 new sleeping bags tied to her belt.
Then her partner walking behind..

Both were stoned out of their minds.

The next thing I noticed were his shoes, really expensive. In my experience buying casual shoes for my tribe I reckon there would be little change from €300. Then his back pack, that was a quality item as well.
They walked along not seeing anyone.

Two Zombies walking in daylight the "living dead"

With their lives in freefall I wondered if there might be an Angel at the crossroads to take them away from this hell..

Even the rich and powerful are not immune from this dark shadow

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rain like stair rods

            Waiting for Godot?
 The biscuit maker?

   What a fine model ship at the tourist office

Today Wednesday morning we had a very heavy downpour for around an hour.

Srange to say passengers were scarce on the Clontarf seafront.
Then I found out I had been following a bus, so I just turned around when The HailO system went "Ching Ching" I had a fish in the net and went off to reel her in. "Passenger on board" and I was on my way.

She told me that she had tried 2 radio companies and they couldn't send a taxi for 30 minutes, if indeed they could even get one.
She pressed the HailO app and got a taxi in 4 minutes.
She was very impressed !
Dropping her off at the Central Hotel I turned my driver app on and straight away it went "Ching Ching" This time my new passenger was in Fitzwilliam Square.
I headed towards The Green and saw it wedged with traffic, so up by Wexford St, Camden St, across Hatch st down Adelaide Rd (which was slow) But I arrived there on time.
My new friend from Saudi Arabia got in. He was not happy about being kept waiting.
So I explained that there would be no vacant taxis during a storm like this, I had driven past around 6 people who were  looking for taxis.
So it would be logical for me to turn off my HailO system and just pick up on the street, therefore wasting no time or fuel driving to pick up people while there was plenty of work on the street .
So he settled down and he told me about his country, all the different landscapes, the oil and he accepted that having great wealth brings its own set of problems.
Every country is rich in its own traditions, beneath  all the oil money people are much the same, we all want a full belly and peace to sleep and relax.

Now the Euromillions is around €110 million on Friday, so perhaps I will travel to far off lands instead of the people from those lands visiting me.

So if I am not around by Sunday don't come looking for me.

A cheap dream !

Doing the damn income tax I have to pull out loads of papers as I do not have an efficient filing service.
I find loads of other things which I was not looking for, including this ladys business card, she wanted us to go to Siberia with her.

Her website is here
She is the Russian champion of magic, the French photographer who was doing portraits that day was wondering out loud "How should I portray her?" He went wild when I suggested as a VAMPIRE and that is what she became.
Nice memories of that Blackpool is held in Feburary

One thing worth remembering.
If you miss one oppertunity wait in readyness for your second chance

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A moment in time




 Oh what a beautiful morning The weather has got much cooler and the rain is gone for today.
The apples from my trees are nearly all picked and life goes on.
 I am back  at home having breakfast just after dropping a French lady at the zoo, a Googler by profession. She is off to do a charity face painting for the day. Her heart is in the right place.
I told her of my wish that Google would do "Faces of the world"
Imagine clicking on southern Spain and seeing what male or female /20 to 30 might look like. Then with a split screen compare with Libya or any other country.

This for me is the fantastic part of my job. Kurdish, Russian, Ethiopian, Brazilian, Polish and Mexicans jump in and out of my taxi every day.
I love all the slight differences which make up the citizens of our world.
The first time I saw Paris I had never seen such a mix of different races,it was  just like Dublin is now. She told me to go to Ikea in Paris, this is where the young married people go and there you will see many children of mixed parents, the new French.
Once a long time ago I picked up a lady of Philippino origin. She was looking 20 years younger than her age (really) and she had 4 different races in her lineage. As far as I remember she had green eyes. She let me take her photo and I put it on my blog a long time ago, she was happy when she eaw it and her family back home also saw it. I hope she is well.

 Yesterday I had a lady heading off to the high speed ferry, and she told me her life's story in the 20 minutes it took to get there.
Married to a soldier when she was young they couldn't get a bank loan to buy a house. The main reason for that was that things that went on in the army was secret so the bank would not lend them money without knowing the specifics.. Therefore they were on the council waiting list for ages until one day she found out  that a local publican had been given a house for his recently married daughter, while they had been waiting for years to get a council house. To avoid the word getting out to the public they got a house which they bought over time.
When her husband retired the job situation got very bad here. So they loaded up the car with 2 kids and drove on to the boat and ended up in London. They knew no one there on arrival but established themselves. She became a pub landlady and I forget what he did at that time. Then they applied for and got a "Green card" and went to America. They did really well there and still have a holiday home in Florida. Her health was failing owing to arthritis, so once again the rolled up the tent and came back home.
Today she was off to visit her son while his wife is having another baby.
So she is in Derby today awaiting the new arrival. Some people will hardly divulge their destination, others give their life's story.

Google are changing things for the blog, lets hope it is not like the last time when I couldn't publish for a few weeks.

 Once in a while a guy will cut out in front of you and give you a rude gesture.
Other times you will let someone into traffic and you don' even get a smile in thanks.
It is very important that you drop that aggression which will build up inside you,if you let it.

At the top of Oswald Rd beside the Star of the sea church there is a bunch of withered flowers and a photo.

A while ago 2 drivers had an argument, one driver had a Hurley stick and he smacked the other on the head. The victim thought nothing more of it, a bit of a headache...thats all,


He had internal bleeding.

Well it was the victims birthday.
We miss you Dad

So don't let the monster emerge, stay calm and remember the meter is still running.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Dail and the Courts are back

The curb I clipped

Ruhamas effort to bring the reality of trafficking and prostitution to the people.

Well on Saturday night I was heading home on the Clontarf Rd when I "Clipped"a piece of curb which sticks out into the road about a foot more than the rest of the path. "Bang" a flat wheel, oh that it would be so easy to fix.
I jacked up the car, oh yes...Someone borrowed my torch I remembered.
Then I tried to get out the spare wheel...
Problem number 2
The big plastic nut which holds in the spare wheel in place could not be turned!
So I got a taxi to my house.
I have a huge pipe wrench and with my 6 ft son now in tow we returned to the scene of the happening.
After every turn of the wrench I tried the wheel nut by hand, it would not turn an inch until it came loose on the very last turn of the wrench.
Then with the nut loose I let my assistant go home.
Spare wheel on I tightened up my nuts and headed home.
Rumble rumble !
This is not right I said as I stopped to find now that the 2 tyres had blown.
So I took another taxi home and went to bed.

First thing in the morning I went down and jacked up the car and started to take of the second wheel, which had become fused to the hub, back home again for my sledgehammer 5 hard blows it took to get it off and the piece of wood I brought to protect the wheel was smashed to bits.

Then with the 2 flat wheels in my wife's car I saw a girl looking for a taxi, she was not having much luck.
I told her that I was a taxi driver and what had happened to me and I brought her to her restaurant in Drumcondra to start work while I searched for a tyre place on Sunday morning.
I found that Tyreland were very good in the past, but they are not in the phone book or the yellow pages. A strange thing to report is that the hours of business are not advertised at most tyre depots either.
How much does a sign cost?

At the airport I found a guy who will come to you 24/7 Now I don't know how good he is,but he is the only one I found for that 3AM on a bad bend emergency service.
Atlas tyres beside the Skylon hotel in Drumcondra opened at noon, after breakfast across the road, I was on my way back home by one O'clock.

Yet when you look at the tragedy that happened to the Spence family it makes your own personal woes fall into nothing.

The HailO system is still working out, a call I got the other day was to an address 2 miles away. The lady told me that 3 other drivers had turned the call down.
I can only assume that they had left the system on while they had a passenger on board.
She was very chatty and told me that she had booked a radio cab a few weeks ago for 9 am and at 9.15 she rang them back. "We are waiting for someone to drop off in your area"
Her partner showed her the HailO app and it got her a taxi in 3 minutes and she hasn't looked back.

I had a bit of a fiasco doing a pick-up myself.
I was in Terenure when I got the call. I hit the address on my phone which showed me their location on the map and I followed it into a playground at the back of a church. The device showed me I was outside and yet I couldn't see the house and she couldn't see me.
She went outside and we couldn't see each other either.
I put the address into the sat nav and it brought me around to the the other side of the playground wall.
Even though I was outside the given address she said she was getting into another taxi at that moment.

Today I saw 4 130 buses bunched together at the dart stationand and a 5 th one closing up. By the time they all get into the city it will be like a big snake.
They should have a system that the first bus becomes an express and drives into town dropping off only the next one past the next 6 stops, or something like that.
After 6 buses together there would be a scarcity at the other end for a while.

Monday, September 17, 2012


I copied this clip from the net.
It seems like the dog fell into a septic tank, the father tried to pull it out and fell in followed by his 2 sons and daughter, the daughter survived.

Every year these septic tanks cause deaths, both by drowning and through the methane gas.

Live for today my friends.


Ulster have paid tribute to “a much-loved and talented member of the squad” after centre Nevin Spence's death in a farming accident.

The 22-year-old died along with his father and brother yesterday after falling into a slurry tank on their family farm in Hillsborough, County Down.

His sister Emma, an artist whose work includes portraits of Ulster players, is still being treated for the effects of fume inhalation.

Reports suggest Nevin and Emma were attempting to rescue their brother and father, who had already fallen into the tank.

A statement released by the club read: "It was with profound sadness that Ulster Rugby learned of the tragic death of Nevin Spence, a much-loved and talented member of the Ulster squad.

"Ulster Rugby also wishes to express its deep sorrow at the death of Nevin's father Noel and brother Graham."

Chief executive Shane Logan added: "I am deeply saddened by this tragic news.

"Nevin was a wonderful player but also a wonderful person. He was well liked by everyone who knew him and his loss will be deeply felt by his team-mates and everyone at Ulster Rugby.

"He will be sorely missed and the thoughts of everyone involved in the game are with his family at this time."

Irish Rugby Football Union president Billy Glynn also expressed his condolences.

A statement from Glynn released by the IRFU read: "This is a terrible tragedy that has struck the Spence family and the thoughts of everybody in Irish Rugby are with them at this time.

"Nevin was an outstanding young player which was evident from his progression through the representative ranks and the game has been robbed of a very talented young man.

"On behalf of Irish Rugby, I would like to offer our heartfelt support to the family, friends and team-mates of Nevin during this difficult time."

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it responded to a 999 call at about 6.15pm following reports that at least three people had fallen into a slurry tank.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service also attended and rescued four people from the slurry pit.

Following the lengthy rescue operation it was confirmed that three men had died and a woman was taken to hospital for treatment for the inhalation of fumes.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: "Three were unconscious and NIAS paramedics commenced resuscitation efforts immediately assisted by other ambulance personnel.

"One of the four showed initial signs of responding to the efforts of the crews and was transported immediately to the nearby Lagan Valley Hospital, where unfortunately he died a short time later.

"Despite the best efforts of all involved the other two men died at the scene.

"A female was treated at the scene and taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where she is recovering from the effects of fume inhalation."

Ulster fly-half Ian Humphreys led the tributes on Twitter to his former team-mate, who was a member of the squad that reached the Heineken Cup final last season and was predicted to have a glittering international career ahead of him.

Spence made 42 senior appearances for Ulster and was named Young Player of the Year at last year's Irish Rugby Football Union Players' Association Awards. He played for the UlsterRavens, the club's 'A' team, against Munster A on Friday.

Humphreys wrote: "Devastated to hear the news about Nevin Spence and his brother and dad. Prayers with all his family... RIP Nev, you'll never be forgotten..."

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson wrote: "Deeply saddened to hear of the tragedy in Hillsborough this evening. My thoughts and prayers are with family at this time of devastation."

Tributes also appeared on feeds representing both the British and Irish Lions and the RaboDirect Pro12, the league in which Ulster play.

The Lions post read: "All our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ulster centre Nevin Spence, his father and brother."

The post on the Pro12 account read: "Shocked. We just read about Nevin Spence. RIP. There are no words."

Former Ireland and Munster hooker Jerry Flannery added: "Terrible news on Nevin Spence, his Brother and their Dad. Offering up prayers for their family and friends, unbelievably sad."

Former Wales winger Shane Williams wrote: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Nevin Spence. A tragic loss. A class act on the field also. RIP."

Tributes also came from notable Northern Irish sportsmen Rory McIlroy and Barry McGuigan.

McIlroy, golf's world number one, wrote on his Twitter account: "Just heard the tragic news of Nevin Spence and his family. Makes you cherish every day you have on this Earth."

Former boxer McGuigan wrote: "Tragic news about Nevin Spence and his family, in County Down Northern Ireland. My deepest heart felt sympathy to his family."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Freshers week.

Another of those scooter trucks

The papers in the hotel were loaded on to sticks to stop you taking them.

Through the tunnel under the motorway.

Open her up on the "M50" on the way to Venice airport.

As you know every taxi has to have a fare card

This morning I was heading up the back of Clarendon St when I was surrounded by loads of men and women in cheap black suits.
I first thought it was a Men In Black convention or an undertakers day out.
It was none of that at all.
It was Robbie Williams going into Brown Thomas store to launch his new line of menswear.

I went on up to the Westbury where the line of taxis suddenly moved forward.
I waited and spoke to a great one time professional comedian Sean Connors.
He told me he worked the "Circuit" in England with his Dad who was a singer years ago.

Here it is as they say the didn't have to travel far to find his talent.

Remember Pavarotti singing with his dad?

All the schools are back and the Banks are lining up to try and get customers.
One of my sons got a credit card once.
The wiser one got a free pen and folder when he opened his account.

You know its getting cold but we had a beautiful morning and rain in the afternoon.

Another good word from my sponsors. They now have 1,400 taxis on the system

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tommy Valentine

Whatever happened to Tommy Valentine.


He drove around in a Merc which once was owned by Charley Haughey our one time leader.

I went to see one of his shows.
A really great voice but no stage craft.

I think that with a bit of coaching he would have been great.

Yes a bit of nostalgia there.

Yes folks the taxi drivers outing was indeed yesterday.

Not much about it in the media !

Today an Italian chef I know defended his colleagues back in Italy to me.

"John you send me customers and I look after them like they are my children, but if you go to a big tourist city where they have 100,000 different tourists coming into the city every day, why should they care?
Would you sent a good customer to a restaurant in Temple bar for example?"

I said that if I was running a restaurant that I would treat my guests with respect and serve them the best I could, Luigi you are only as good as the last meal you served to MY passengers, if I get a few complaints I won't tell you, we will all just go away.

Life is strange,I drop into Luigi, taste his food, have a cup of tea. I have never taken a free meal from him yet we have a strange respect between each other.
I know that my guests will be treated well,we could do deals,a few euro here and there,one hand washes the other.
But that is not my style.

"You know what I mean?"

"Sai cosa voglio dire?"

Here he sings a song about a dog Scoobie dobie dooo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm Back

Looks like the same cold place I left 9 days ago but now the normal heavy traffic is back.

I thought that today was to be the day for the taxi drivers special children's outing.
Its not on the news,I rang a few other drivers, no news of it anywhere.
When I find out you will know.

Next time I go I will stick in my notepad in the bag and keep the posting up to date.

I was in Northern Italy, finishing up with 2 days in Venice, the city which abolished street walkers.

One thing I did hear was that the Italian food is not good, everywhere I ate the food was bad.
Any of my 3 sons could have prepared better meals when they were 10 years old.
I am not kidding there is no great secret to preparing good meals.

Just don't burn the salad.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Big event

Huge event here in Dublin.
Navy V Notre Dame at football in the Aviva stadium.
Not an empty bed in the City

But I am heading off on business.

So read some of the other guys blogs until I am back.

Brazil taxi is great. Read it with Google translate.

Your heart has to go out to a guy who entered the country under the guise of work.
He got work all right, loads of it in fact and very little pay and no time off.

For his term of slavery he was awarded €90,000.
But as you know.

"The law is an ass"

As his contract of employment was illegal the award could not be paid to him.

It makes you think.

have a good one.