Wednesday, 18 November 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
161. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if a copy of the report will be provided which it is understood issued in February 2019 from a cross-agency meeting, comprising the Department of Transport, An Garda Síochána and the Office of the Attorney General and which aimed to identify specific solutions to deal with the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37297/20]
My Department, alongside colleagues in the Department of Transport and An Garda Síochána, is acutely aware of the severe difficulties and dangers the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes causes in the communities it impacts and my officials have been working to find solutions to this complex issue.
Insofar as your reference to a report issued by the cross-agency grouping is concerned, the then Minister referenced a report in the House on 13 February 2019. This reference was to the legal advice sought from the Attorney General in the aftermath of the initial meeting of this grouping which was received the prior November. As you will appreciate, legal advices received from the Attorney General are not generally published.
The cross-agency group most recently met in September 2020. The group agreed that the Department of Transport - which has primary responsibility for road traffic legislation – would explore the feasibility of developing new legislative provisions in road traffic legislation, following on from the suggestions of An Garda Síochána, without causing unintended consequences for existing law.
The Programme for Government contains a commitment to "enhance powers available to An Garda Síochána to limit the use of scramblers and quads by those engaged in anti-social behaviour and enact legislation to add to those powers if needed."
It was also agreed at the September meeting that my Department would consider and develop actions in order to increase awareness of the dangers of these vehicles jointly with affected communities, community groups and other stakeholders, and explore how best to engage with young persons who are drawn to this behaviour. My Department is examining options in this area, with due regard to social distancing requirements.