Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (291, 298)

John Curran

Ceist:

291. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress being made by the cross-agency group on the issue of illegal use of scramblers and quad bikes; the outcome of the engagement; the steps that will be taken as a result of the recent report issued by the group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8235/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

298. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the work of the inter-agency group to consider problems associated with the widespread and dangerous use of quads and scramblers; if advice has been received from the Attorney General in relation to strengthening the law in respect of the use of these vehicles in areas which are not public roads in addition to the question of strengthening Garda powers to confiscate the vehicles; the way in which he plans to proceed in respect of the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8336/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 291 and 298 together.

I appreciate the Deputies' ongoing concern in relation to this serious public order issue.

As I have previously outlined, my Department's main focus over the past number of months has been on the consideration of legal advice received from the Office of the Attorney General in November. This required engagement with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in the context of existing road traffic legislation.

The Deputies will be aware from my most recent reply that the consensus of both Departments, and the Office of the Attorney General, is that road traffic and public order legislation appear to provide adequate means for prosecuting offences relating to this anti-social behaviour.

My officials are currently consulting with An Garda Síochána in order to identify any specific enforcement issues from a Garda perspective insofar as existing road traffic and public order legislation is concerned and will convene a cross-agency meeting, comprising the Department of Transport, An Garda Síochána and the Office of the Attorney General, in the coming weeks in order to identify specific solutions to deal with the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes.

Insofar as Deputy Curran's reference to a report issued by the cross-agency grouping is concerned, my reference to a report in the House on 13 February was to the legal advice sought from the Attorney General in the aftermath of the initial meeting of this grouping, which as I indicated above, was received in November.

Enforcement in areas which are not public roads has been problematic but the Deputy will appreciate that I am not in a position to provide any further details in relation to the legal advice until such time as the current consultations are concluded.

A further meeting of the local authority taskforce is scheduled for Thursday of this week, and my officials will provide an update on the consultations to date. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the taskforce for its input into the current consultations and to extend my appreciation to the community-based organisations and other interested parties that have contributed to the consideration of this matter. I also acknowledge the contribution of the Finglas South Combined Residents Association this month. Many of the issues raised will be discussed at the forthcoming cross-agency meeting and I can assure the Deputies of my ongoing commitment to this matter.