A large number of fake documents, including fake taxi licences and applications, have been seized by gardai under an ongoing operation.
Operation Vantage, a four-year enquiry by the Garda National Immigration Bureau, had a day of action last week that uncovered widespread immigration fraud, leading to a number of documents being seized in the north inner city and Lucan.
More than 90 personnel, including individuals from special crime operations, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) and the National Transport Authority, were involved in ten searches on residential properties as part of the operation.
Gardai confirmed that of the 134 cases, 64 investigations have been finalised and forwarded to INIS.
Following the operation on March 5, Gardai confirmed that 55 people had their immigration permissions revoked as Operation Vantage tackled the abuse of taxi legislation and immigration.
Of this number, 25 are now subject to deportation proceedings. Four people have been arrested following these deportation orders, with two already removed from the State.
Following these searches, 15 other people have been identified for investigation where a marriage of convenience and fraud has been uncovered, and another seven people were found to be present in the State without any immigration permission.
In the wake of the discovery, a number of taxi drivers have said that the application process for a licence to drive a taxi need to be tightened, and the application process must be reviewed.
On popular Facebook page Dublin Taxi Drivers, a number of Dublin’s drivers are outraged that so many people have been able to falsify documents easily and operate taxis on the city’s streets.
One driver wrote: “We are all missing something here folks. In order for you to hold or renew a Small Public Service Vehicle License to drive a Taxi Hackney or Limousine, you have to be Garda-vetted.
“Therefore, false documents were vetted and approved. Somebody else not doing their job correctly.”
Several drivers have called for tighter application processes, and for the National Transport Authority and Transport Minister Shane Ross to be held accountable.