Northern Ireland

West Belfast taxi group may withdraw route after attack

Taxi

A taxi association in West Belfast has said it may withdraw one of its routes after a number of drivers have been attacked by youths throwing snowballs and stones.

One of the passengers, a woman and her one-month-old baby, were also hit when the doors were opened by the gang.

Taxi driver Raymond Hunter said he was attacked three times in one day.

"About 25 of them bombarded the taxi and attacked the girl and her baby in my taxi".

"People don't realise how bad it is," Mr Hunter said.

"So far no one has been injured, but someone, either a passenger or one of the drivers, are going to get serouisly hurt.

The taxi asscociation runs a service similar to the bus service. Passengers stick out their hand to get on board.

The association said it had taxis going up and down the road without any problem during the Troubles.

Mr Hunter said this incident was one of a series of attacks that have occured over the last week.

Mr Hunter said initally he was on his taxi run when some young people appeared and threw snow and ice balls.

In the second incident the taxi door was opened and youths threw snow and ice at the woman and her baby.

Later Mr Hunter was attacked for a third time. He was stopped and surrounded by a crowd of up to 25 youths - this time an older crowd.

On Saturday another two taxis from the association were attacked.

The association has threatened to withdraw from the area. They have been talking to residents' groups in an attempt to resolve the issue.