Seanad member Senator Eileen Flynn is making news headlines today after relating a confrontation she says she had with a taxi driver.
Flynn, who is a member of the travelling community, says that the taxi man “refused” to take her onto the halting site where she lives and described his reluctance to do so as a “crime”.
Eileen Flynn on her desire to get a taxi driver convicted of a hate-crime for not wanting to drive her into a halting site last night.
Does it seem reasonable to make being afraid to enter halting sites at night a crime? pic.twitter.com/q8cVs3fWaw
— JRD (@JRD0000) May 4, 2023
She described her dismay saying that to “a lot of people” no matter what she does, she’s still “just a member of the travelling community,”.
She went on to describe prejudice she believes other people have against her by describing herself as a list of disparaging remarks, including the word, “knacker,”
Flynn was comforted by fellow members of Seanad Éireann, most notably Senator Regina Doherty who previously stated that there are “nine genders,”
Jerry Buttimer and Regina Doherty competing to lavish praise on Eileen Flynn for her evil racist taxi driver story. pic.twitter.com/iMvv04uIkU
— JRD (@JRD0000) May 4, 2023
I think there are more than a few issues with the claims Flynn makes against the taxi driver, whose side of the story we haven’t heard.
Firstly he didn’t refuse to take her in his car, so if he really was a ‘racist’ as some Seanad members have claimed, why would he have accepted a fare from Flynn in the first place?
Flynn claims that when the driver expressed reluctance to enter the halting site she told him that she would not pay him for the journey and that in response to this he said he would call the Gardaí.
According to Flynn’s account of what happened next, she said that she informed the driver that she would be the one contacting the Gardaí because he was “the one that’s committing the crime,”
She then explains that the Gardaí were called and that the “operator” informed her that the complaint “was a waste of guard’s time”, to which she replied that the driver was committing a crime and that she would not pay him.
Interestingly here, she says the taxi driver requested the Garda to stay on the phone while he drove her to her destination.
It seems clear from this request that the man may simply have been afraid for his safety.
Flynn is an ardent supporter of the new hate speech bill which is making its way to the Seanad where it may or may not be amended.
Claims of criminality in the case of someone who is reluctant to do something seem to show a propensity to try and control and manipulate others by means of the law.
A taxi driver is not obliged to take anyone anywhere, especially if he or she feels the destination is unsafe.
Dublin Bus currently refuses to service certain areas of Dublin after 6pm due to safety concerns and so far I don’t recall anyone accusing their unions of hate crimes.
Speaking on RTÉ News this morning Flynn called the driver’s actions “blatant discrimination” while acknowledging that there have been “incidents in the past” before adding, “but that’s not everybody,”
Is it a hate crime if a woman refuses to enter a hotel room with a man because she feels unsafe?
Well, add a few protected characteristics to the man and who knows? By Flynn’s logic maybe it could be.
Flynn says she explained to the Garda on the phone that she is a “public representative” and that she “wasn’t going to let any harm come” to the driver…. This sounds like an acknowledgement that there was a possibility of harm coming to him, and in this case surely his reluctance is understandable?
This case illustrates the danger to freedom of thought, expression, and speech that are contained within the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022.
There are people who will use this law to try and hurt other people. People who feel they have a right to never feel offended and will have no issues attempting to criminalise those who hold different views.
“I welcome the hate crime legislation that will be brought before this house in the coming weeks,” said Flynn, adding that “we have some small amendments to make to that,”
Senator Flynn felt offended by the driver’s alleged actions – which is her right – I argue that feeling offended should not be a reason to accuse another person of criminality – but of course the new hate speech bill means it may well be.
In this writer’s opinion Flynn tried to push the driver to do something the man may have felt was unsafe and now she’s being paraded around like she’s a victim with her “courage and bravery” being lauded by fellow Senators.
There’s plenty more of this to come I think.