Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1644)

Niall Collins


1644. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that vehicles can have ownership registered to persons under 17 years of age and minors and also to fake names with bogus addresses and that in many instances these vehicles are being used in criminal and illegal activity; his plans to address same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36724/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Registration of new and imported vehicles is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners and my Department have no role in that matter. My Department are however responsible for change of vehicle ownership notifications, and these are recorded on the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF) at the Departments office in Shannon, Co. Clare. Article 10 of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 1992 (SI No. 385 of 1992) and amendments made thereto set out the procedures regarding notification and recording of changes of vehicle ownership.

Where my Department suspect or detect incorrect change-of-vehicle ownership notifications using fake names and or bogus addresses, they endeavour to contact the previous registered owner seeking assistance in clarifying the matter, including the furnishing of information pertaining to the sale or disposal of the vehicle. In such circumstances, a special ‘marker’ will be placed on the NVDF for the vehicle alerting that the details of the owner or address are under investigation, and no future correspondence will issue to the individual concerned. Where necessary the case is also forwarded to the Gardai for follow-up investigation.

Where undetected by my Department, the normal procedure in the case of such complaints is for the Department to advise vehicle owners to contact their local Garda station and inform them of the correspondence they have received. Officials at my Department will assist with any subsequent investigation by An Garda Siochána. The Department will enable the NVDF vehicle record to be amended and restored to the previous owner if warranted from any investigation.

Notwithstanding this, such instances including sale of a vehicle to a minor are primarily enforcement matters for An Garda Siochána. The recording of a vehicle in the name of a minor is legislated for in Section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 2004 and makes it an offence for a mechanically propelled vehicle to be supplied to a person under the age of 16 years; and sets out the offences where such legislation is contravened.  ‘‘Supply’’ in this legislation includes supply by way of sale, hire, loan, gift, or other means of making the vehicle available to a person. 

My Department is however looking to strengthen provisions in this regard. A proposed amendment to section 12 of the Roads Act 1920 will provide that the Minister may make regulations to collect certain identifying particulars on application or renewal of a vehicle licence or on becoming the new owner of a vehicle.