Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Ceisteanna (248, 293)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

248. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to ongoing public concern regarding the dangers of the widespread illegal use of scramblers and quad-bikes; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that An Garda Síochána is requesting new powers to enable it to tackle this issue in public parks and other off-road situations; if urgent consideration will be given to providing An Garda Síochána powers to confiscate the vehicles when they are being used illegally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39324/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Curran

Ceist:

293. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress that has been made in relation to the dangerous use of scrambler and quad bikes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39873/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 248 and 293 together.

I would like to begin by stating clearly that my officials, alongside their colleagues in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and An Garda Síochána, are striving to find solutions to this complex policing issue.

As I have outlined in previous Parliamentary Responses, a cross-agency group has been examining the misuse of scramblers. This process has involved my Department, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Housing, Planning and Local Government and Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as well as An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority, the Revenue Commissioners and representatives of local authorities.

On foot of advice from the Office of the Attorney General, it was agreed by all attendees at the last meeting of the group that, in the main, current legislative provisions appeared to be sufficient. Nonetheless it was also agreed that the group would remain open to considering workable legislative solutions to any specific legislative gaps specifically identified by An Garda Síochána.

My officials wrote to the Garda Commissioner to seek his formal views on the matter. A response was received on 28 June and has since been shared with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, as a primary contributor to the work of the cross-agency group. The response from the Office of the Garda Commissioner does suggest potential legislative changes which the organisation believes could assist in improving policing in this area.

These proposals are receiving detailed consideration in my Department and it is expected that the cross-agency group will reconvene shortly to further scrutinise these proposals and to ascertain whether they can be progressed alongside targeted enforcement measures, awareness raising and youth engagement, which will be key to success in combatting this behaviour.