That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Road Traffic Act 1961 to further regulate the use of all-terrain vehicles and scrambler motorcycles in a public place, to make further provision for the seizure, by An Garda Síochána, of said vehicles and motorcycles in certain circumstances, to provide for the confiscation and disposal of same when a person contravenes the law in relation to the use of both all-terrain vehicles and scrambler motorcycles in a public place and to provide for related matters.
In the last Dáil I introduced the Road Traffic (All-Terrain Vehicle and Scrambler Motorcycle) (Amendment) Bill, which obviously fell with the last Dáil. That Bill had the support of all the Opposition parties, and I expect that this Bill should enjoy the same support. While we continually got confusing feedback from Ministers for Justice and Equality in the previous Government, the key issues that need to be resolved regarding additional Garda powers in this area are clearer than ever. By and large and by its own admission the Garda has sufficient powers in a general sense. However, it requires the power of seizure without interception.
In the majority of cases scrambler bike users are juveniles. The idea of a Garda driver pursuing a 14 or 15-year-old across a public park at high speed is rife with dangers for the garda, for the public and for the scrambler rider himself or herself. However, the Garda does not have the power at present to identify where the rider lives, identify the scrambler in the curtilage of the property, and subsequently to confiscate it on the basis of antisocial and dangerous use in a public space. This is not just me saying this; this is the factual and real-time position as outlined to Deputy McAuliffe and me by senior gardaí.
Too often I have seen the antisocial use of scramblers destroy open spaces in my constituency, including in McGee Park and Killinarden Park in Tallaght. Too often this antisocial use has taken place while juveniles are on-site, training or playing matches, which have subsequently had to be abandoned.
I acknowledge the work of local gardaí in Tallaght for their interventions when these activities occur. This Bill will give them the powers they require once and for all. Any other issues, such as additional resources, are secondary to this legislation which is required. In most cases already when gardaí have been able to identify the illegal, antisocial and dangerous use of scramblers, the bikes have actually been confiscated and, in most cases, destroyed. I hope the House supports the Bill.