Wednesday, 14 June 2006
Road Traffic Bill 2006: Committee Stage (Resumed).
There is a link between this amendment and the previous amendments. Proposed amendment No. 59 in the name of Senator Paddy Burke represents a fundamental change to the current provision for an applicant to apply for the removal of a disqualification. The Bill has made it more difficult to get a driving licence back after disqualification by ensuring that such disqualification is at least equal to two thirds of the period of disqualification rather than half, which it has been in the past.
The Senator proposes this period to be increased to three quarters. Considering the approach in this Bill is reasoned and balanced, increasing disqualification to three quarters of the period of disqualification could be seen to be unreasonable. Subsection (3) allows the court to take into account the character of the applicant and his or her conduct after the conviction, as well as the nature of the offence.
The court may decide not to return the licence. There is no obligation on the court to do so, be it after 50%, 66.66% or 75% of the prescribed time. The Bill addresses the principle of the proposal of a counsel at work. The only difference between us is a question of whether two thirds or 75% is appropriate. In the past the portion was 50%. Two thirds is a reasonable balance and a compromise. Regarding amendment No. 60, I consider that 14 days is a sufficient period to contact the Garda.