Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Questions (251)

Seán Haughey


251. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if legislation will be introduced to make it illegal to sell scrap metal for cash in view of the fact that there has been an increase in the theft of catalytic converters from cars in the Dublin area; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2013 to help prevent thefts along these lines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49037/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy referred to the theft of catalytic converters from cars.

The Deputy may wish to note that the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 provides for offences of theft, the handling of stolen property and the possession of stolen property. The offence of theft provided for by this legislation would, based on the broad nature of the offence, include the theft of ‘scrap metal’ and ‘catalytic converters.’ Maximum sentences of 10 years are provided for in the case of offences of theft and handling of stolen property; while maximum sentences of 5 years are provided for the offence of possession of stolen property.

Irish law relating to the sale and purchase of scrap metal is a matter for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and arises under the Waste Management Act 1996. The Waste Management (Facility Permit and Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No 320 of 2014) apply to the sale and purchase of scrap metals and were designed to improve the traceability of such scrap metal sales. The regulations impose an obligation on businesses to apply due diligence measures to ensure the traceability of any waste purchased.

Finally, the Deputy may wish to note that officials from my Department are also involved in the Metal Theft Forum, which is a collaborative working group between State stakeholders and industry representatives to improve information sharing around the issue of metal theft. The Forum is chaired by An Garda Síochána and includes representatives from my Department, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the EPA, An Post and a wide range of non-State representatives including telecoms companies, the ESB and others.