A Duleek taxi driver has told Meath Live how his seat belt kept him strapped in and left him defenceless as a furious female fired punch after punch into his face and neck after he refused to take her friend home as he was covered in blood.
Earlier today we published video footage of the incident that took place on Drogheda’s Peter Street in the early hours of Sunday morning and now the taxi man involved, Duleek man Paul Byrne has spoken out about what happened.
Incredibly it is the second vicious assault on the 56 year old who saw a man jailed for 30 months five years ago after Paul was attacked while waiting for a passenger at Drogheda railway station.
He told us, ‘That is the bizarre thing about what happened last Saturday, 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 I 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.
‘Then her female friend, who you can see in the video is wearing a white coat 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.
‘You are kind of compromised when being attacked by a woman, I knew if I punched her back anyone watching would just see a man hitting a girl and react accordingly so I stayed calm, I have a short enough fuse but I did keep my 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 my attackers male friend on to the ground and knocking him out cold.
‘Her went back to the other taxi and the two women went bald headed for him, at that point I called the cops who in fairness were on the scene inside five minutes.’
Paul admits the two attacks have rattled him.
‘After the first one 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.’
One of the women involved is due before the 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.’