Road Traffic Bill 2016 [Seanad]: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage

Debate resumed on amendment No. 7.
In page 24, between lines 12 and 13, to insert the following:
“31. The Minister shall instruct all motor insurance companies to write to all present and future learner drivers stating that driving unaccompanied by a specified qualified driver and/or without displaying L plates invalidates the terms and conditions of their insurance policy and that any payment made to a third party in the event of a collision may be recouped from the learner driver and/or the main policy holder.”.
- (Deputy Thomas P. Broughan)

How would the Minister view this approach in terms of the insurance industry making sure that unaccompanied drivers with learner permits do not persist in driving on the public roads? This was a difficult amendment to frame. What is the Minister's view of amendment No. 7?

I am supportive of the measures that are being taken but I have a big issue with insurance companies. Young drivers - I must declare an interest because there is one in my family - now take the mandatory 12 driving lessons and sit their test, which has been tightened up considerably. The whole process is expensive. They take their test, pass it, put up their N plate and then they look for insurance, but they are penalised and victimised before they even get on the road. I am all for them being penalised and victimised if they have accidents or drive unaccompanied while on a provisional licence and so forth. However, when they try to operate within the law, they should not be penalised. They take the initiative to do the training, sit the exam, complete the 12 lessons and sit and pass the test to get a licence, but the insurance quotes are exorbitant. They can get a car for €3,000 but the insurance could be €10,000. They are victimised by the insurance companies before they are allowed on the road. They are being penalised even though they have not had an accident, have not driven for even 1 kilometre and have not made any mistakes. If they go on the road and are reckless, are caught speeding or are involved in a crash, they are penalised and we all accept that. Insurance companies penalise them and hike up their insurance.

Young people are being quoted astronomical prices. The prices are simply unaffordable and could not be paid by any family. We cannot keep passing legislation favouring the big insurance companies. We have had many debates in this House on the insurance industry and a report was recently published by the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach on the industry here. It is a total rip-off and I have said that before. We are seeing the victimisation of young people who show energy and enthusiasm and who make the effort to do things properly, to get the lessons and become qualified drivers. As soon as they get their piece of paper for the windscreen, they are penalised savagely by most of the insurance companies. No matter where they go, they cannot get an affordable quote. They end up becoming named drivers on their parents' insurance with a huge loading on the policy. There is a very serious inequity here. Young people are not being supported or recognised for doing the right thing. They get the required number of lessons, complete their driver education and training, become road safety aware and get their licence, but what thanks do they get? They are victimised. This is resulting in some opting to drive without insurance, which cannot be tolerated. Surely some respect and support should be given to young drivers. The Department must consider some initiative to ensure those learner drivers who do things properly, who make the effort and are deemed to be safe drivers by testers who are recognised by the Road Safety Authority and the Department obtain a licence that is of use to them.

I ask the Minister to consider this issue carefully. He has grandchildren of his own who will be affected, as do many Deputies in this House. We meet young people every week who want to get to work, to college and to travel independently. They want to contribute to our economy and enable it to flourish. The insurance industry should not be victimising young people who do not deserve to be punished because they have done nothing wrong. They are made criminals before they start.

I support Deputy McGrath's comments. Has the Minister taken into consideration the recent report by the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach on this particular issue? The report deals with the cost of insurance for Irish motorists and the manner in which insurance companies are dealing with motorists in terms of covering that cost. The Irish Road Haulage Association, representatives of consumers and others appeared before the committee and provided us with facts and many examples of young people who cannot get insurance. These young drivers have not been involved in any accident, have complied with the requirements of the car test, passed the theory test on the rules of the road and so on but insurance companies are penalising them. They do this by offering them insurance quotes that are so outrageous that they simply cannot be paid. The figures that the committee heard in the course of its hearings tell us that the quotes are meant to ensure the drivers simply do not take out an insurance policy. We have young people who are trying to take up employment and do the right thing but the insurance companies are preventing them from being insured to drive on the road. There are other cases where insurance companies have refused to give quotes and, when pressed, they have offered quotes that are totally unaffordable.

Telephone numbers.

The same argument can be made for older people. They, too, find themselves being penalised. In rural Ireland this causes great difficulties for families and individuals who are trying to get employment and, at the other end of the spectrum, for those who have retired and are simply trying to get around in their own communities. They cannot get insurance but they have done nothing wrong.

In some of these cases the people have not had an accident and their car was insured. In others, insurance companies refuse to insure an individual who drives a car over a certain number of years in age. The entire system has gone skew-ways, and nobody seems to be in control. While the Central Bank offers a consumer protection role, it does nothing to harness the actions of the insurance industry in driving up costs. We have had the arguments about the book of quantum being rewritten and presented. All of that has been done. We have had the actions of the courts and comparisons with the United Kingdom, which show massive payouts in Ireland when a fraction for the same injury would be paid out in the UK.

All of this comes back to the attitude of insurance companies, what they do in the marketplace and how that impacts upon individuals who are determined to get insurance but simply cannot. The country cannot go on like this. Our economy is suffering dramatically because of what is going on, and we should consider the contribution the Irish Road Haulage Association made to that debate. We are within a European Union market, a Single Market, yet it is impossible to get insurance cover offered in any other country. There are issues in that regard that need to be addressed. We cannot look at some of these pieces of legislation in isolation. There are massive issues to be addressed. We are waiting for the Minister of State, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, to produce his final report on the insurance industry. The finance committee made 79 recommendations on the insurance business and how it is being conducted in Ireland and the fact that there is almost a cartel in operation. That is a fact.

I want to address some of the points made. I agree with virtually everything that was said about the insurance industry. I would probably go a little further with regard to most of the detail given by Deputies Mattie McGrath, John McGuinness and Tommy Broughan. They are probably aware that when it comes to taking measures to deal with it, it is a matter for the Department of Finance. That is why the Minister of State, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, and not me, has been writing the report. The obligations in my Department are to do with safety. That is the only area where I can affect motor insurance, and that is by making the roads safer. If we make the roads safer, presumably, insurance rates will come down.

The Minister for Justice and Equality and I are part of a group which examines road safety on a regular basis, with the Garda Commissioner, other interested bodies and the Road Safety Authority. We called in the insurance companies recently to ask them about road safety and various data, and we were struck by their lack of knowledge. It was alarming that they did not have the relevant data we needed, particularly on this issue of learner drivers, so we dispatched them with a request to come back to us with that information at an early date. Unfortunately, most of the other measures will have to be addressed by the Department of Finance and not by my Department because it is not within our ambit.

I thank Deputy Broughan for amendments Nos. 7 and 12 relating to insurance and unaccompanied learner drivers. I understand that pressure from insurers on learners or those who might let them use cars would be helpful. It is a measure I would be happy to consider in more detail, and it may be an issue that should be referred to the committee on finance. I do not believe, however, that as it is proposed and drafted, and it is as much a drafting issue as anything else, it would work. For example, amendment No. 7 would require me, as Minister, to write to insurers instructing them to inform unaccompanied drivers that they are not covered by their insurance but what happens if they do not obey the instructions? I share the Deputy's aspiration in regard to this amendment. There is also no sanction and no way of enforcing the instruction. I cannot enforce that instruction; I do not have those powers. That is a real difficulty in terms of the drafting. I could write to them asking them to do it but they can tell me to go jump in a lake or do nothing about it, and there is nothing I can do about that. It is incomplete.

I agree with Deputy Broughan that we have to deal with unaccompanied learners and as I stated last night, the amendment tabled by Deputy Munster and Deputy Ryan addresses that in a reasonable way. I accepted Deputy Munster's amendment. The amendments were almost identical but the language in Deputy Munster's amendment was closest to the language used in the legislation. I am conscious that every word in legislation of this sort can be challenged and it is probably safer to accept that one, but that does not mean there is much difference between them.

I also agree that it might be very effective if we could include an insurance aspect to the measures we introduce or, when the measures to deal with the insurance companies are introduced following the report, that we include something along the lines of Deputy Broughan's amendments.

The focus in amendment No. 7 was on drivers on a learner permit driving unaccompanied, which is the key point, and the problem that some insurance companies are counter suing when the terms and conditions of the policies have not been met. They would often be on their parents' policies for the reasons mentioned by a previous speaker. The insurance companies would appear to be doing this quietly but it is an area that may need to be examined in the future. I will withdraw that amendment.

In amendment No. 12, I was seeking to strengthen the powers of An Garda Síochána where an unaccompanied learner is stopped. There seems to be a lacuna in the legislation in that gardaí cannot simply seize the car or ask for somebody with a driving licence to take the car back to where it is based. Again, the law is weak in that regard. I refer to the situation mentioned earlier. Where an unaccompanied learner arrives at a test centre, what does the Road Safety Authority do in those circumstances? In a reply to a question I asked, they said it was not a matter for them and that it was a matter for An Garda Síochána, but it is part of their remit as an agency. I ask the Minister to consider amendment No. 12, but I will withdraw amendment No. 7.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 8:

In page 24, to delete lines 34 and 35, and substitute the following:

“(ii) where the licence or permit was produced, all the details specified in that licence or permit and those details to be forwarded by the Court to the NVDF and the Road Safety Authority within 5 working days of the conviction, and

(iii) names of the persons who failed to produce their licence on conviction to be forwarded by the Court to the Garda within 5 working days of the conviction and put in place a direct or electronic link between prosecutions as recorded on the Courts Service Criminal Case Tracking System (CCTS) and the Fixed Charge Notice originally issued by An Garda Síochána.”.

This is an attempt to address the serious problem of people who have been convicted of driving offences being permitted to have licences and drive on our roads. The Minister partially reformed this area. We mentioned it several times during Question Time and so on. He amended section 22 of the 2002 Act by stating: "...the presiding judge shall require the person to produce his or her driving licence or learner permit to the registrar, clerk or other principal officer of the court, and the court shall record whether or not the licence or permit was produced, and where the licence or permit was produced, the details specified in that licence or permit." My amendment carries that on in paragraphs (ii) and (iii) which state: "... where the licence or permit was produced, all the details specified in that licence or permit and those details to be forwarded by the Court to the NVDF and the Road Safety Authority within 5 working days of the conviction..." That is the key point, namely, the transfer of information between the court, An Garda Síochána, the vehicle centre and the Road Safety Authority and to do that as quickly as possible.

Then, in paragraph (iii), we added that "names of the persons who failed to produce their licence on conviction to be forwarded by the Court to the Garda within 5 working days of the conviction and put in place a direct or electronic link between prosecutions as recorded on the Courts Service Criminal Case Tracking System (CCTS) and the Fixed Charge Notice originally issued by An Garda Siochána". It is to keep track of all fixed-charge notices and convictions and disqualifications.

I note that amendments Nos. 16 and 17 were ruled out of order. There was an attempt made to address this area as well in the lengthy amendment No. 18 by Deputy Troy, who has another commitment at present.

Road safety campaigners, such as the PARC organisation, and, indeed, the chief executive and chairperson of the Road Safety Authority, are interested in seeing something put in place where all of the details of court convictions, particularly the registration of licences with points and disqualifications, are brought together and that agencies, in particular, the Garda Síochána but also the RSA, would have a full database. That is what I was seeking to address in this amendment. Obviously, it is a flow of information that we need.

What Deputy Broughan suggests is sensible. A couple of points struck me about what the Deputy is highlighting about the speedy transfer of information. This is all about ensuring that drivers who are legally in a position to drive are driving in a safe environment and that those who have been convicted of a particular driving offence are removed as speedily as possible from the roads throughout the country. I presume in cases of criminal activities that having the licence withdrawn, if the measure was introduced, monitored and policed effectively, would take some of the criminals off the road as well.

Deputy Broughan's amendment essentially seeks to see where the driving licence or permit has been produced. What he is talking about really is just joined-up thinking. The situation is not acceptable as we approach 2017. There are limited reasons for which a driver would be asked to produce his or her licence at the local Garda station, such as following a Garda checkpoint or a speeding offence, within a limited time period. I would particularly focus on the aspect of Deputy Broughan's proposal that highlights the need to deal with those drivers who fail to produce their licence because that is an affront, if not an additional offence.

I am supportive of the measure. As the Deputy outlined, he wants to insert in this section "names of the persons who failed to produce their licence on conviction to be forwarded by the Court to the Garda within 5 working days of the conviction and put in place a direct or electronic link between prosecutions...". This is more of the joined-up thinking that we are talking about to ensure that the systems in the Department of Justice and Equality, the courts, the headquarters of An Garda Síochána and PULSE are talking to each other so that when a conviction comes through or a driver simply does not turn up to produce a licence, the system knows and is alerted to that fact. It is certainly an amendment worth pursuing.

I support amendment No. 8 in the name of Deputy Broughan. There has been a historical difficulty in ensuring that where drivers were convicted in court, penalty points or disqualifications were registered on their licences. It is an area that PARC, the road safety organisation, has targeted over the past number of years. Members attended local courts to monitor the situation and to highlight the issue. The Minister has improved the situation in that regard. Deputy Broughan's amendment flows from that and is worthwhile. Indeed, it is an important measure to ensure that all these convictions and disqualifications are noted and registered on the licences of individuals who have been convicted.

Why are the amendment's paragraphs (ii) and (iii) not in place already? It is a simple matter of administration in terms of people knowing who was before the courts, what the conviction was and then taking the appropriate action to ensure that the licence is endorsed or that it is known for any future event that the individual was in court previously.

Deputy Broughan's amendment is common sense. When one compares it to what is going on at present, I think of the case of the late Shane O'Farrell, information about which is in the public domain. Every system in the courts failed in relation to that young man's death and the investigation which followed was simply appalling. The trauma for that family continues to this day. They seek justice from this House in relation to an inquiry, and I support them. Had procedure and administration been followed in that case, it would have been known that the driver concerned had a list of convictions. It strikes me that if those convictions had been properly put up on PULSE, all the information would have been available to the judge in court in that case.

I would have thought that what we are asking now would have been there anyway in the context of the administration of justice and the monitoring and management of PULSE. The case I highlighted, which the Minister should look at, shows the chaotic system that exists at present which does not serve the citizen well. In Shane O'Farrell's case, his death was not appropriately investigated. Had it been, it would have shown the weaknesses in the current system of administration in the courts and how an individual can get away with continuing to drive after being convicted of a very serious offence. In fact, in that case, they were not even able to produce the PULSE records properly.

The type of information that is being requested here to be shared should be shared anyway. Whatever the steps needed to learn from the case of the death of Shane O'Farrell and what is contained in the amendment's paragraphs (ii) and (iii), we could learn a lot from merely reading the papers on that case and insisting that the current arrangement that is in place be made more effective while we are waiting for an amendment like this through this legislation to be put in place. The way things operate at present is unacceptable.

I fully support the amendment.

In this day and age, we must have a system that can be efficient in passing information from one sector of the courts system to the Garda. The Minister should look upon this more urgently.

It is pointless having checkpoints if the Garda files are not being updated from the court system. I support the inclusion of the amendment.

I give my full support to amendment No. 9. I do not want to repeat all that has been said by my party colleagues. Deputy McGuinness referred to the O'Farrell case. We all accept that there have been a number of cases around the country where evidence that should have come before a judge was not available.

We must also consider this in a wider context, given the number of vehicles on the roads. It is absolutely essential that all of the amendments are put in place. The volume of traffic on our roads today is significant and we cannot allow for any slippage, such as PULSE not being up to date or, as Deputy McGuinness said, evidence that should have gone before a judge or court dealing with certain cases not being available. Rather than prolong the debate and repeat everything that has been said by my colleagues, I will simply state that I support the amendment as do my party colleagues.

I thank all of the Deputies who contributed to the debate on this amendment. I thank Deputy Broughan, in particular, for the chance to discuss the production of driving licences in court and the recording of their details. As I and other Members of the House know, Deputy Broughan has taken a keen interest over the years in campaigning for improvements to road traffic. One of the issues he has highlighted is a problem that has existed for a long time, namely, the recording of the details of driving licences in court.

I share the sentiments of everybody who has spoken on this issue. There is a problem in that the matter is ultra vires. I cannot interfere in the proceedings of the Courts Service; that is a matter for the Department of Justice and Equality. It is unfortunate because otherwise I would accept the amendment.

In fact, it was thanks to Deputy Broughan that I introduced an amendment to the Bill on Committee Stage to revise the existing procedure in this area which has not worked. My officials, therefore, discussed in detail with the Courts Service how it could be revised and made to work, and the result was the amendment that I introduced on Committee Stage.

The reason we need to record details is so that penalty points and disqualifications can be associated with a licence record. The new procedure in the Bill has introduced a requirement for a judge to ask for the production of a licence when a person is convicted. The court will then record the licence details or the fact that it was not produced. Non-production is an offence. Previous efforts to prosecute people for the non-production of a licence failed because the original summons did not state that they had produced a licence. I gather this will be rectified.

As I said, the new procedures were produced in consultation with the Courts Service and Garda, and they are satisfied they would work. I take the point about the five days. We need a speedier process, but it is not within my power to introduce that. I do not believe that the amendment would, therefore, be workable.

Section 22, which I am amending in the Bill, relates to what happens in court during road traffic cases. While I appreciate the motives of Deputy Broughan's proposal, it relates to internal Courts Service procedures outside the courtroom, and these are matters that are within the remit of the Department of Justice and Equality which cannot be dealt with under road traffic law. I would be concerned that the amendment might, therefore, undermine the revised procedure which we have managed to work out and I would appreciate if Deputy Broughan would, in light of that, withdraw the amendment. However, I will make representations to the Department of Justice and Equality and the Minister for Justice and Equality to make an appropriate change in the law when she comes to address this issue.

The five day element of the amendment is very useful. One or two amendments could be made to Deputy Broughan's suggestion which could be incorporated into the Bill. At the current time, the matter is ultra vires and I cannot implement the change.

I heard what Minister said about the matter being ultra vires, but the amendment proposed by Deputy Broughan makes sense. I urge the Minister to take the matter up with the Minister for Justice and Equality and introduce something similar.

We have spent an hour today voting on Bills. We have passed legislation that has had a lot of time spent on it by civil servants. Gardaí are enforcing the legislation. People are caught, brought to court and go through the Courts Service in the common good, following which they are convicted but, in effect, face no sanction and are allowed back onto the roads to cause untold damage to individual families. The amendment has great merit. While I understand the Minister's particular difficulty, it is something that needs to be addressed in the House as soon as possible.

A lot of work has been done by the Minister's predecessors, going back to the time of people like the former Minister, Noel Dempsey, and so on. That work has been undermined by the fact that two Ministers are responsible for this area. The Minister knows that in any business there must be one chief executive because when responsibility is split between two departments, things fall in the divide between the two. The Courts Service has let us down, largely because of inefficiencies over the years in not requiring information to be provided and licence details to be taken down and brought to the attention of An Garda Síochána, the RSA and so on.

I note the point the Minister is making and the fact that he has come a little bit of the way in regard to the requirement on judges. A comprehensive approach is necessary. We should not have to constantly see what the Department of Justice and Equality is doing and then hark back to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. The safety of our people is part of the Minister's portfolio.

This year, there have been approximately 170 deaths on our roads. Close relatives of people who have died have marked their deaths. It is one of the most serious things that traumatises families year in and year out. This amendment would be a small step in alleviating the situation.

I have heard what the Minister said. I asked him about consolidated legislation on the area, and whether his Department could work on that as a priority. In that context, I will withdraw the amendment.

My Department is working on consolidation, as has always been the case. I understand it is being worked on quite aggressively at the moment.

I am very sorry that I cannot accept the amendment. It is for reasons which the Deputy has pointed out, namely, that there seems to be a constant question over who is responsible for what. The Deputy will have to take my words in good faith. I will make a representation to the Minister for Justice and Equality on this issue because it is important. I simply cannot support the amendment as it is not within my power. It is a very important amendment.

I take the Deputy's point on road safety figures. They are deplorable and completely unacceptable. We will address them in a very targeted way. I am not satisfied with the progress we are making. What the Deputy is doing is very helpful. When something is completely outside of my ambit, I cannot support it, but I will convey that to the Department of Justice and Equality.

It would be useful if the sentiments expressed in the House were conveyed to the Courts Service and I will arrange for this to happen.

I am grateful for the Minister's response. I want to pick up on something he said earlier. The Minister has outlined how his hands are tied, but the House would welcome if he recognised the need for action to be taken on this in some shape or form. He recognises that there is a lacuna that needs to be addressed. He mentioned making a recommendation to his colleague, the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality. For the benefit of the House, will he elaborate on his thinking on what type of recommendation he might bring to the Minister in his capacity as Minister with responsibility for transport? Having listened to the debate today and taken on board what Deputy Broughan and others have said in the context of the amendment, what type of recommendations might the Minister have in mind? How does he think the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality could respond in concrete terms? Does he have a timeline in mind for this in the context of which he thinks the suggestions contained in Deputy Broughan's amendment could be enacted into law?

I am interested in speeding up matters in respect of all issues raised by Deputy Broughan, including the registration of convictions and fines and details of licences because it is unacceptable that it takes so long. I will convey these sentiments to the Tánaiste. I will not give the House a timeline for this to happen because it is too much of a hostage to fortune. However, I regard it as urgent.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 9:

In page 26, to delete lines 8 to 13 and substitute the following:

"

8

Offence consisting of contravention of sub-article (5)(a) or (7)(d) of article 14

Contravention of restrictions on driving vehicle on cycle track or shared track

1

3

"

This is a small amendment to correct a typo. In section 34, as passed on Committee Stage, members may have noticed that in column 3 of the table there is reference to a "cycle track or shared tract". This should of course be "track". As the text with the typo was passed on Committee Stage, it is necessary to correct it by formal amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 10:

In page 27, after line 38, to insert the following:

"Owner permitting vehicle to be driven by unaccompanied learner

38. (1) Subsection (2) applies where a holder of a learner permit—

(a) commits an offence by driving a vehicle when not accompanied by and under the supervision of a qualified person, contrary to Article 17(6)(b)(iv) of the Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 2006, and

(b) is not the owner of the vehicle concerned.

(2) Where this subsection applies, the owner of the vehicle concerned also commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a class A fine, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or to both.

(3) In proceedings for an offence under subsection (2), it is a defence to show that the vehicle concerned was driven without the owner’s consent and that he or she had taken all reasonable precautions to prevent its being so driven.".

I need clarification from the Minister-----

My apologies, but this was already discussed with amendment No. 7.

I do need clarification from the Minister because he responded in general terms to the group of amendments. Before making a decision on pressing the amendment, I need clarification. The Minister suggested that amendment No. 11 is somehow stronger than amendment No. 10. I get the sense that the Minister would like me to withdraw my amendment in deference to amendment No. 11. If I am to do this, I need to understand fully what is going on and what is the Minister's thinking. If we are to compare the two amendments, the only difference is that my amendment refers to a class A fine on summary conviction and amendment No. 11 refers to a fine not exceeding €2,000. Amendment No. 10 does not seem to be massively different or weaker than amendment No. 11. In order to withdraw the amendment, I would have to accept the Minister's arguments, which I have not heard in specific terms.

The Deputy raised this yesterday with regard to my decision to group the amendments. Rather than opening up the discussion, I ask the Minister for a brief response for clarification for Deputy Brendan Ryan.

The amendment was discussed yesterday with amendment No. 7 and I cannot open up the discussion.

Very briefly, there was no reflection on anybody in any particular way. Both amendments achieve the same end. I am advised that Deputy Munster's amendment reflects the language and sentiments in existing legislation just a little more accurately. As I have already stated, I do not want to see any legal challenges and amendment No. 11 seemed to be a little safer in this way.

I will press the amendment because I asked for clarification but did not get it.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 11:

In page 27, after line 38, to insert the following:

"Learner Driver driving unaccompanied (Owner)

38. The Road Traffic Act 1961, is amended by the insertion of the following section:

"35A.(1) It shall be an offence for the owner of a vehicle to allow their vehicle be driven by a learner driver driving unaccompanied.

(2) Where a person charged with an offence under this section is the owner of the vehicle, it shall be a good defence to the charge for the person to show that the vehicle was being used without his consent and either that he had taken all reasonable precautions to prevent its being used or that it was being used by his servant acting in contravention of his orders.

(3) Where a person is guilty of an offence under this section and disregarding any disqualification that may be capable of being imposed, such person shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €2,000 or a term not exceeding six months imprisonment or both such fine and imprisonment.".".

The Minister has indicated he will accept this amendment.

I will accept the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 12:

In page 27, after line 38, to insert the following:

"38. The Principal Act, is amended in section 36, by inserting the following:

"(6A) A learner driver driving without an accompanied specified qualified driver shall be deemed in law to be driving without valid motor insurance and can therefore be arrested by An Garda Síochána, the vehicle seized on the spot and charged with the offence of driving without insurance resulting in an automatic ban for six months for the first offence.".

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 13:

In page 27, after line 38, to insert the following:

"38. Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 2006 is amended by inserting after subsection (4) the following:

"(5) The offence of holding a mobile phone while driving shall incur six penalty points with a fine of €160. If summonsed to court it shall result in an automatic disqualification for six months for first offence on conviction.".".

This amendment relates to the offence of holding a mobile phone while driving. I propose an increase in the penalty points and fine that apply. There is a general perception that the use of mobile phones in vehicles, which is a distraction from driving and a serious threat to road safety, is both growing and prevalent. If we check the number of penalty point offences for this, it is significant. This is a matter which many people believe needs to be addressed. A problem in the area is the Garda traffic corps has been decimated in the seven or eight years since the onset of the recession to fewer than 700 gardaí. The level of enforcement that people expect and that we need for safe driving in the country has deteriorated. It needs a vigorous response. There has been much comment about the decline in the application of points and fixed-charge notices, even though the use of mobile phones while driving, perhaps when taking a corner or going through lights, seems to be even more prevalent. In the UK, this has also been attributed to the decimation of its traffic corps because of continuing austerity by its Government since 2010. The amendment is an attempt to focus on this element of very bad driving and on a practice that needs to be stamped out.

We are all under this kind of pressure, particularly, people in our business and people who in their business are constantly on the move with people trying to contact them etc. Clearly one cannot use a mobile phone and drive. My amendment seeks to highlight the problem.

I will be interested to hear the Minister's response to this amendment. I think it will probably take more comprehensive analysis and a separate debate. We would all have been tempted to do this at some stage, especially in previous times, before this became such a prevalent issue. I commend the Road Safety Authority's television advertising, highlighting the difference a split-second loss of concentration while behind the wheel can make in causing or precipitating an accident.

The figures available to us - they are also available to the Minister - suggest that driver error represents the single biggest contributory factor, accounting for at least 80% of fatal collisions in recent years. As Deputy Broughan said, it does not just relate to the use of mobile phones.

Ten years ago most people had a basic Nokia phone with a cradle in the car and hands-free set. While I am not exonerating those who used a mobile phone while driving, at least in those days it was just for making calls, whereas now the entire plethora of social media platforms are available on smartphones and different mapping applications are available. There is so much technology on these devices available to drivers now, including mapping and music. Many people do not even use the car radio but connect a smartphone to the stereo system in a car. There is a huge temptation to use the technology available from the smartphone and take one's eyes off the road.

The original plan for this Bill was to introduce new penalties for drivers who allowed themselves to be distracted, whether dialling, making calls or using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or applications such as Google Maps and WhatsApp. However, it has been dropped from the legislation before the Oireachtas. I accept that there are many difficulties in this. A lot of texting is done covertly and trying to assemble the evidence is difficult for gardaí as opposed to just finding someone red-handed with a mobile phone to his or her ear while driving.

The Minister will give us his response to the amendment, but what steps are being taken, including by the Department of Justice and Equality, to address this? The national and international evidence suggests that use of mobile phone devices is becoming an increasingly significant contributory factor in road collisions and deaths. Will the Minister outline his overall vision for what he could do? What legislative strategies could be employed to address this problem? It is not just an issue with drivers. Pedestrians are walking and crossing streets with mobile phones to their ears. We all know how these devices can distract.

I thank Deputy Broughan for tabling the amendment, which gives us an opportunity to discuss the issue. I will put my hands up. In the past I was prosecuted twice for using a mobile phone and got my penalty points. Thankfully, I have left that era behind. We all need to be honest with ourselves over things we did in the past that we should not have done. However, I am seriously concerned that I frequently see drivers of lorries, vans and cars using mobile phones. In fairness to gardaí, this is an area about which they really get angry when they find people at this. While there are fines and other penalties, we need to send out a clear message to the public in this regard. Despite the availability of hands-free and Bluetooth, we see many people with phones up to their ears while driving, including having only one hand on the steering wheel while going around a roundabout. It is horrendous.

People rightly say that they cannot go out for a meal with the family without the young ones using the phone. We need to send a very clear message to everybody. As someone who broke the law in the past, I say we cannot be strong enough on this matter. It is really serious.

Like Deputy Lahart, I will be interested to hear the Minister's response. All of our lives are driven by new technology, even in this Chamber. Constituents often say to me, "You were looking at your phone and using your phone." Nearly all Deputies find themselves using their phones because the pace of this life is so hectic at times. It is very important that the use of mobile phones is addressed in the Bill.

I have two children, one now an adult and the other a teenager. In the past when they saw me using a mobile phone in the car, they were horrified. It is good that the younger generation coming up see this as something horrendous that we should not do. Perhaps those younger people, who will start driving in the coming years, will see the clear danger of using a mobile phone. I agree that many adults are still breaking the law in this regard. In that situation we need to be firm and strong. I agree with the proposal on the fine and we also need to do something about disqualification.

As Deputy Eugene Murphy said, we are in the era of modern technology. The biggest problem is defining the use of mobile phones. The easiest part of a mobile phone is the talking part, but there is an issue with getting a number. With a hands-free kit in the car, keying a phone number into the dash is what causes the danger, not talking on the phone. Defining the use of the mobile phone will become the issue regarding road safety. I wish to reiterate that it is not having the phone to one's ear that is a problem. It is when the phone is on the dash and the driver is trying to dial the number or search for the contact name. The whole issue of defining the use of a mobile phone needs to be debated further.

I welcome the thrust of the amendment, but I am not sure about just increasing penalties. It comes down to the issue of education and creating more awareness among the public of the best way to drive.

I thank the Deputies for their contributions on this matter. It is a little strange that one of the most useful modern implements in both business and personal life has also tended to cause many road accidents. It is a quite wicked introduction to the car. Deputy Lahart asked what is my philosophy on this and I do not know, but I believe there is a lesson to be learned. The incidents referred to by Deputies Kevin O'Keeffe, Eugene Murphy and John Lahart involved people using their mobile telephones recklessly and regardless of the law. That is quite alarming. It indicates a general attitude among many in the population that if they break the law in their cars, they will get away with it. They believe they will not be arrested, charged or even discovered. That appears to be the case not just for mobile telephones, but also for the other elements that cause fatal road accidents, the main ones being speed and drinking. People think they can drink or speed and that they will not be caught. God knows, but they might be correct. We do not know the number of undiscovered people who are drinking and driving. We only know about the ones who were caught. The same is the case with speed and mobile telephones. Those are the three main culprits for causing road fatalities. The fourth one is not wearing a seatbelt, which is a slightly different issue.

This must be looked at in terms of attitude. I am not sure that I always share the view that it is a matter of personal responsibility. It is also a matter of parliamentary and political responsibility, as well as a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I find it striking that it is difficult to get up-to-date statistics, and I am determined to do something about it. I have said this in the House many times previously but I will continue to emphasise it. The statistics on drink driving, for example, are totally out of date. They show very alarming figures and changes in attitude towards drinking and driving, particularly among young men, but they are from 2012. One can get some anecdotal information but the statistics are from 2012, and they are alarming up to that point. We have a duty to get more information and data. It was odd that the insurance companies, which we referred to already, did not have up-to-date data when we wanted it. It appears that the Road Safety Authority, perhaps not through its own fault, cannot get up-to-date statistics on drinking and driving, and it seems that the situation might be worse since the last statistics were issued rather than better. That is a reality we must face. It is also a responsibility. Rather than say it is all the individual's fault, we, as legislators, have it in our power to take tough measures, if we must, to stop people killing other people with their cars.

What Deputy Broughan has addressed here is useful. I have no wish to find flaws in the amendments. It has been my wish throughout to accept amendments, as I see no political benefit otherwise. Unfortunately, however, there is a difficulty with the amendment. I appreciate that Deputy Broughan wishes to strengthen the law in this regard. The criminologists have different views on whether increased penalties make that much difference. Sometimes, obviously, the chances of being caught act as a greater deterrent. However, that has been debated for centuries. While Deputy Broughan wishes to strengthen the law with this amendment, in fact, accidentally, this is not what the amendment would do. It is a drafting matter. The amendment provides for a fine of €160 for holding a mobile telephone while driving. The current fine is a maximum of €2,000. The problem appears to be a confusion between the fixed charge, paid on receipt of a fixed charge notice from the Garda, and a fine which, in law, is the penalty imposed by a court. This is quite technical but it is the way it would be open to interpretation. Where a person is taken to court for holding a mobile telephone, the fine is a maximum of €2,000. The effect of the amendment would be inadvertently to reduce it by over 90%. The amendment also provides that the person convicted of holding a mobile telephone while driving should receive a disqualification of six months for a first offence. This would mean no disqualification for a second or subsequent offence.

I am sure the Deputy does not mean to slash the fine for holding a mobile telephone while driving or to set out harsher consequences for a first offence than for repeat offenders, but that would be the effect of the amendment. That is the reason it is impossible to accept it.

We must get serious about road safety in this country. We were going in a good direction, with the number of road deaths in this country declining significantly. Behind every statistic is the death of somebody's sister, brother, mother or father. The number of road deaths increased last year, and this year the statistics indicate the number has increased further. I welcome the intent of Deputy Broughan's amendment, but we are going nowhere without enforcement. Earlier we discussed people being brought to court and convicted but effectively leaving without sanction, despite one being handed down by the judge, because they leave without the endorsement being put on their driver licences. We can have all the legislation in the world but if there is no enforcement, we will continue to have deaths on the roads.

As I said, significant progress was made in recent years. In the late 1970s, almost 800 people per year were dying on our roads, and the number of cars was only a fraction of the number we have now. However, we are going in the wrong direction. There must be greater enforcement. That means proper funding for enforcement with not only the Garda, but also the Road Safety Authority being properly funded, and ensuring there are proper protections on the roads. For example, I visited Oulart national school in Enniscorthy last week. Children must run the gauntlet of trucks and speeding cars on a regional road because there is no funding to install road safety measures. That is unacceptable as well. The enforcement side of this must be examined, as well as ensuring we have proper road safety measures. I welcome the intent of the amendment, and there must be further measures. However, without the funding for proper enforcement, all the legislation in the world will not achieve anything.

I have a brief comment. I always acknowledge the Minister's sincerity in addressing issues but I am concerned about the way he replied to the amendment proposed by Deputy Broughan. As somebody who was wrong in the past and who used a mobile telephone and was prosecuted for it, I am aware, as I am sure the Minister is, that nobody was ever fined €2,000 for using a mobile telephone. I was fined €40 or €60, whatever the amount was, at the time. As I said earlier, I am very concerned by the number of car, van or lorry drivers I see with a telephone held to their ear. As Deputy Browne said, we must address this issue. I might have some concern about a disqualification for six months, as perhaps it should be for a shorter period for a first offence, but I would not be happy to pass this Bill and leave the situation relating to mobile telephones unchanged, because it is a massive issue.

As Deputy Browne also said, we have seen many tragic road accidents and we have been told that mobile phones were being used when some of those occurred. This is a serious issue for all legislators. While acknowledging the difficulties the Minister might have with this issue we should not simply pass over it but should work with the amendment proposed by Deputy Broughan.

I share the Deputy's sentiments but I repeat the effect of this amendment probably quite inadvertently because of the way it is drafted would be to reduce the maximum fine in place from €2,000 to €160. I have no problem with the proposal to increase the number of penalty points. That would probably be a good idea. The effect of this amendment in reducing the maximum fine from €2,000 to €160 would send the wrong signal. It is technical in terms of what a fine is and what a fixed charge is and there may be confusion between the two. That is the only reason I want to oppose it. It would reduce the penalties for driving while using a mobile phone. That is the problem.

Is it possible for the Minister to accept the first part of the amendment?

I do not think so.

I accept the Minister's point about the difficulty with the drafting of the amendment. Obviously, we are investigating and invigilating complex traffic laws on our own with very limited resources. Solicitors have earned their living from dealing with traffic law, among other things, down the years. This offence is a major factor in road safety. Looking at penalty point totals to October 2016, out of 791,000 penalty points issued almost 560,000 were for speeding. We have said previously during Question Time and in other debates that speeding is the No. 1 issue that we must address with respect to all elements of road safety. By far the second biggest offence, for which 82,000 points were awarded, is driving a vehicle while using a mobile phone. It is a major issue. I thank the Deputies who spoke in support of this amendment. We all understand the pressures people are under but that practice we must stop. Is it possible to increase the penalty points in this instance similarly to what the UK is doing at present?

It would be interesting to know how many fines for €2,000 have been issued. I know the Minister cannot get that information now and it would come under the Department of Justice and Equality. The Minister might be able to provide Deputies with those figure in the next period. I would be interested to know how that is enforced. We are all familiar with the penalty points that accrue when a person is caught using a mobile phone while driving. Deputy Broughan outlined the thousands of penalty points that are imposed for different driving offences and using a mobile phone ranks high among them. It would be interesting for the House to have information on how many times the €2,000 fine has been enforced. I was not conscious there was such a significant fine in place until the Minister clarified it in the context of this amendment. I would have thought there was a lower end fine in line with the figure Deputy Broughan proposed in his amendment. I do not need those figures today but it would be useful if they could be furnished to Deputies.

I will certainly try and get that information as it would be useful. What Deputy Eugene Murphy said is probably right. I have not heard of this fine being imposed but it is in place. The effect of reducing a fine by so much is unacceptable because it is in place for a purpose.

Is it possible to increase the penalty points?

I do not think I can. I do not think I can accept part of an amendment. The Chair can rule on that. If I could accept the part of the amendment proposing the imposing of six penalty points I would, but I do not believe I can.

The Minister might be able to make a priority in the context of the road safety review.

We have to clarify if the amendment is being amended. Is it in order to take an amendment to an amendment on the floor of the House?

No, I do not believe it is, but I would take it if I could.

Then, I will press the amendment as we want to expedite this.

Amendment put and declared lost.

On a point of order-----

It seems an amendment to an amendment cannot be tabled despite there appearing to be a consensus around the House as to how we can do that. I appreciate the moment has passed and the proposer of the amendment has pressed it and it has been defeated.

That is not a point of order. I know from my time in the House that an amendment must be made and one can have an amendment to an amendment and an amendment to an amended amendment but notice must have been received or indicated. The previous procedure was that these issues were dealt in committee and this arises out of Committee Stage. If it was intended to divide the amendment in the that fashion, that would need to have been flagged on Committee Stage.

I move amendment No. 14:

In page 27, after line 38, to insert the following:

“38. The Principal Act is amended in section 36, by inserting the following:

“(9) The following offences shall be included in the book of evidence pertaining to learner drivers—

(a) driving unaccompanied,

(b) non-display of L plates shall be included in the book of evidence presented to the Director of Public Prosecution following a fatal road traffic collision.”.”.

There seems to be a lacuna in this area in regard to a summary offence. The amendment proposes that offences pertaining to learner drivers in terms of they driving unaccompanied and the non-display of L plates would be included in the book of evidence going to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Garda Síochána has informed us this is a gap that needs to be addressed.

This issue arose on Committee Stage and it was Deputy Munster who raised the issue of the fatality in Cork involving an unaccompanied learner driver. It takes such occurrences to make people conscious of this offence. I have become acutely aware of cars displaying L plates in which there is only one person, the driver, and I have made the assumption that the car is being driven by the learner driver but that may not always be the case. In a case where an accident occurs where one of the drivers involved is an unaccompanied learner driver and their car displays L plates, that driver would be found to be driving illegally. It is an a matter for another conversation between the Minister and the Minister for Justice and Equality. There was a time up to when Garda numbers were depleted when traffic patrols and roadside checks were becoming more frequent in all parts of this city and county and throughout the country but they have now become more infrequent. The number learner drivers driving cars displaying L plates and who are unaccompanied by an experienced driver probably runs into hundreds throughout the country. Those offenders are not being caught because they are not being monitored in the way that they were in the past because of depleted Garda numbers, which are growing again.

There have been a few recent notable examples, one which was raised on Committee Stage, where this had fatal consequences. I would welcome the Minister's feedback on this before I take a firm view on it. If it is illegal and if an accident has occurred, then it seems to make sense that evidence of this would be included in the book of evidence presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP. I would welcome the Minister's informed view on this.

Once again, I thank Deputy Broughan for bringing forward this matter for consideration. I appreciate what he is trying to do with this amendment. I have read the amendment carefully but it has several unintended consequences and it presents a few problems.

The amendment refers to the book of evidence in cases involving learners driving unaccompanied and-or without L plates. It would insert this into section 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, which deals with endorsements in cases of convictions or disqualification orders. That would hardly be the right place for it. What the amendment says is that the book of evidence in cases of learner drivers shall, in other words, must, include driving unaccompanied and driving without L plates following a fatal road traffic collision. I am sure the Deputy means the book of evidence would include evidence of driving unaccompanied if the driver was unaccompanied and driving without an L plate if the driver did not have an L plate. That is not what the amendment says, however. It says that in all cases involving a fatal road traffic collisions where a learner driver is the accused, the book of evidence must include evidence that he or she was unaccompanied and without L plates, even when neither was the case.

This amendment would involve taking a dangerous step into the prosecutorial process. The Garda investigates offences and submits files to the DPP. The DPP then decides whether to bring prosecutions and prepares the book of evidence based on what is relevant to the case in question. If unaccompanied driving is at issue in the case, then evidence for it will be included already. The idea that we should require certain types of evidence to be included in the book of evidence, rather than allowing the DPP to decide on what evidence to include on the basis of relevance to the case, would represent a major shift in law against the independence of the DPP and a significant change to the justice system. If the Oireachtas were to consider such a change, it would need to be done as an overall consideration of the role of the DPP. This is a significant amendment in a different and delicate area and it would affect the independence of the judicial system. These are matters of wide-ranging constitutional import. It would be rash in the extreme to attempt to set a precedent on them in this Bill. While I accept the thrust of Deputy Broughan's amendment, we are entering a sensitive area whereby the DPP would be instructed on what evidence to bring forward. In any event, that is quite a serious unintended consequence which I would not wish to enter into with this legislation.

Again, we are going into this interface between the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport looking after road safety and the justice system which is failing us. In this instance, it is failing gardaí who have done a good job investigating fatal crashes and who want to ensure that a key element of evidence is contained in the book of evidence. That is the idea behind my amendment. I did find it difficult and it is complex. That is why we need a consolidation of traffic law going back to 1961. Much has happened since then, with 2.5 million vehicles on the road and so on. The situation now is much more complex.

I would like to ensure that the law is correctly amended in this regard. It seems that the administration of justice is what has failed the families of tragic road victims. We need to get to grips with this. I urge the Minister to focus on this area in the review of the performance of the Road Safety Authority and his Department in administering road safety.

We know from statistics released by the Road Safety Authority that six learner drivers receive penalty points each day, which equates to 2,000 in year. Those are the ones who are caught. This indicates this is a fairly systemic problem of young people getting learner permits and then feeling they have the confidence to drive on their own. We know driver error represents the largest contributory factor to road traffic accidents and deaths. That no doubt increases by a multiple when one adds in inexperience and overconfidence. It is a serious systemic problem.

This is also an issue for these young people who do not realise that most motor insurance contracts have a condition that one must comply with the conditions of one's driving licence for the insurance to be valid. When driving in breach of the law, the motorists in question are driving without insurance. Some of them do not realise the actual consequences of something going wrong. It is an area that needs to be looked at with much more focus.

I understand the rationale advanced by the Minister in not wanting to pre-empt or second-guess the DPP in what a book of evidence may contain. I do not believe, however, it is unique in that regard or it is not the first time such a measure has been implemented or attempted at any rate. I understand mandatory breath-testing takes place at the scene of a fatal or other collision. Can it be confirmed whether that is a Garda working practice or is required for the book of evidence? I do not think it is unique that a book of evidence would have a stipulation that, in a particular set of circumstances, a particular item may be inserted. I appreciate the Minister's reservations but I would query that it may not be unique. On its own, it may not be sufficient grounds to stop the measure.

From reading the section, it seems subsection (a) is a slightly different scenario to subsection (b) in terms of the circumstances that arise. Travelling unaccompanied is to be inserted in the book of evidence but the non-display of L plates is included in the book of evidence only following a fatal road traffic collision. Are the two intended to be read in the same breath or is a different approach taken in subsections? It might be useful to clarify this before we consider the matter further.

I thank Deputies who have contributed to the debate on this. I do not have an enormous amount to add. One of the problems in preparing legislation of this sort, as Deputy Troy alluded to yesterday, is that I have an army of civil servants and lawyers behind me who look at amendments when they come through. A large number of Members proposing amendments, however, do not have that advantage. They draft amendments which seem perfectly all right but which have unintended consequences. This is a classic example.

I have a bit of a problem with the whole DPP aspect of this but I believe there might be ways around that. Telling the DPP what to put into books of evidence is offensive and contrary to what was intended when establishing that office. It might have complications for the Constitution and the independence of the DPP.

Otherwise, we all agree with the sentiments behind all the amendments which we have heard today, yesterday and on Committee Stage.

They have been found to have different drafting difficulties, unintended consequences, or they will break the law in other ways or they were in the wrong place. That is nobody's fault. It makes me think that if people are serious about tabling amendments to non-political Bills of this sort, we should provide people with some sort of a service to make sure they do not fall into these difficulties because they do not have the same resources. Ministers do not come back and say, with a certain amount of glee, that an amendment does not qualify because it has legal difficulties or there are other technical reasons it cannot proceed.

This is probably a real one with real problems. We do not want it to apply in all cases, which it would as a result of the drafting of this amendment. We have more fundamental difficulties with the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP. I will certainly refer this issue to the Road Safety Authority, RSA, and the Minister for Justice and Equality to look at it and see if there is any possible way of getting round it. The normal way at the moment works but there is a lack of enthusiasm and confidence that we are getting enough convictions, that the traffic corps is working adequately and that we are getting enough enforcement. This is probably a reflection of this. I ask Deputy Broughan if, in light of this, he will withdraw the amendment, and in light of the fact I am not really opposing anything he is saying, although I have questions about the DPP.

Amendment, by leave, withdraw.

Amendment No. 15 is in the name of Deputy Robert Troy and has already been discussed with amendment No. 6. Deputy Troy is not present. Has any arrangement been made for somebody to move the amendment?

I move amendment No. 15:

“Regulation of Rickshaws

38. Section 3 of the Principal Act is amended by—

(a) substituting the following for the definition of “public service vehicle”:

“ ‘public service vehicle’ means a mechanically propelled, battery assisted, pedal propelled or non-mechanically propelled vehicle used for the carriage of persons for reward;”

and

(b) inserting the following new definition:

“ ‘public service rickshaw’ is not a large public service vehicle that is battery assisted, pedal or non-mechanically propelled;’’.”.

At present, no agency or public body has the authority to regulate rickshaws. The NTA, which regulates small public service vehicles such as taxis and hackneys, cannot regulate them. This is because a public service vehicle is defined as a vehicle that is mechanically propelled. Dublin City Council and other councils feel they do not have the authority to regulate unlicensed rickshaws because they are not pedal powered vehicles. While Dublin City Council made draft laws to regulate rickshaws in 2013, these were withdrawn on legal advice. This is because the great majority of rickshaws are neither pedal powered or mechanically propelled but are battery assisted. This means under current legislation definitions that they are not small public service vehicles, which are defined as mechanically propelled vehicles. Therefore, the NTA is not authorised to regulate them.

This amendment proposes to alter the definition of small public service vehicles to include battery powered, pedal powered and mechanically powered vehicles. It would create a new category of public service vehicle called public service rickshaws. This includes all rickshaws, including mechanically powered, manually powered and cycle rickshaws. It will clear up the legal lacuna and means the NTA will be the authorised body for regulating rickshaws. The amendment will also oblige the NTA to make certain regulations in respect of rickshaws. These include that rickshaws have to be licensed, that drivers can be subject to background checks and vehicles can be inspected for roadworthiness.

The Acting Chairman, Deputy Durkan, travels Dublin city these days and nights. We have these rickshaws travelling our streets, footpaths and roadways. They do not seem to be properly regulated and even go onto footpaths. Traffic safety problems can arise as a result of their lighting and how they operate. I ask for this amendment to be allowed.

I was not sure whether this had been discussed last night but it was discussed. I allowed Deputy O'Keeffe some poetic licence.

I know the Acting Chairman did.

We will not extend the licence. We must now put the question.

Was this not voted on last night? The amendment was taken with a group of amendments.

The vote comes afterwards. Once it arises here in front of me, it is still to be voted on. The previous division was on amendment No. 6. The vote now is on amendment No. 15, which is the one still on the clár. That is the correct order.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 56; Staon, 0; Níl, 78.

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Browne, James.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Chambers, Lisa.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Coppinger, Ruth.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Curran, John.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Brady, John.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Moran, Kevin Boxer.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kevin O'Keeffe and James Lawless; Níl, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin.
Amendment declared lost.

Amendment No. 16, in the name of Deputy Robert Troy, arises from Committee proceedings and has already been discussed with amendment No. 6. Is the amendment being pressed?

Yes. I move amendment No. 16:

In page 27, after line 38, to insert the following:

“Amendments to Taxi Regulation Act 2013

38. (1) The Taxi Regulation Act 2013, is amended in section 2 by inserting the following definitions:

“(a) ‘PSR’ means public service rickshaw; and

(b) ‘PSR regulations’ means regulations made under section 20.”.

(2) The Taxi Regulation Act 2013, is amended in section 6(3) by inserting “public service rickshaws” after “vehicles”.

(3) The Taxi Regulation Act 2013, is amended in section 7—

(a) in subsection (1)(a), by inserting “and public service rickshaws” after “vehicles”,

(b) in subsection (1)(b), by inserting “and public service rickshaws” after “vehicles”,

(c) in subsection (1)(c), by inserting “or public service rickshaws” after “vehicles”,

(d) in subsection (2)(a), by inserting “or public service rickshaws” after “vehicle”,

(e) in subsection (2)(b), by inserting “or public service rickshaws” after “vehicle”,

(f) in subsection (2)(c), by inserting “or public service rickshaws” after “vehicles”,

(g) in subsection (2)(f), by inserting “or public service rickshaws” after “vehicle”,

(h) in subsection (2)(f)(iv), by inserting “or PSR” after “SPSV”,

(i) in subsection (2)(m), by inserting “and public service rickshaws” after “vehicle”,

(j) in subsection (2)(o), by inserting “or public service rickshaws” after “vehicle”,

(k) in subsection (4)(a)(i), by inserting “and public service rickshaws” after “vehicles”, and

(l) in subsection (4)(a)(ii), by inserting “and public service rickshaws” after “vehicles”.

(4) The Taxi Regulation Act 2013, is amended in section 8—

(a) in subsection (1)(d), by inserting “or, if applicable, public service rickshaws” after “transport”,

(b) in subsection (1)(e), by inserting “or, if applicable, public service rickshaws” after “vehicles”, and

(c) in subsection (5), by inserting “or a public service rickshaw” after “vehicle”.

(5) The Taxi Regulation Act 2013, is amended in section 10—

(a) in subsection (2)(c), by inserting “or driving a public service rickshaw” after “driving a small public service vehicle”, and

(b) in subsection (2)(d), by inserting “or a public service rickshaw” after “vehicle”.

(6) The Taxi Regulation Act 2013, is amended in section 47(3) by inserting “or a public service rickshaw” after “vehicle”.

(7) The Taxi Regulation Act 2013, is amended in section 48(4)(b) by inserting “or a public service rickshaw” after “vehicle”.

(8) The Taxi Regulation Act 2013, is amended in section 64—

(a) in subsection (1), by inserting “and public service rickshaws” after “vehicles”, and

(b) in subsection (1)(e), by inserting “or public service rickshaw” after “vehicle”.”.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 52; Staon, 4; Níl, 75.

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Browne, James.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Chambers, Lisa.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Curran, John.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Brady, John.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Moran, Kevin Boxer.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Staon

  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kevin O'Keeffe and James Lawless; Níl, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin.
Amendment declared lost.

Amendments Nos. 17 and 18 are out of order.

Amendments Nos. 17 and 18 not moved.
Bill, as amended, received for final consideration and passed.

The Bill, which is considered to be a Dáil Bill in accordance with Article 20.2.2° of the Constitution, will be sent to the Seanad.