Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of monthly arrests of persons that have tested positive for drugs at mandatory intoxicant testing checkpoints nationally during 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5296/18]
72. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of mandatory intoxicant testing checkpoints nationally during 2017; the number of motorists that have tested positive for drugs at these checkpoints; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5295/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 67 and 72 together.
While An Garda Síochána has been testing Irish drivers for drugs, with the assistance of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS), since 1999, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport commenced the drug driving provisions in the Road Traffic Act 2016 on 12 April 2017. One of the key measures in the legislation provides for Preliminary Drug Testing, which now enables Gardaí to test motorists at the roadside, whom they suspect of driving under the influence of drugs.
The drug testing devices (Dräger DrugTest 5000) involve testing a sample of a driver’s oral fluid (saliva) for the presence of cannabis, cocaine, opiates (e.g. heroin, morphine) and benzodiazepines (e.g. valium). These devices are also be available in Garda stations.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that the following represents the number of positive roadside drug tests conducted each month since the commencement of the legislation on 13 April 2017 to 31 December 2017.
Of those 90 positive tests, I am informed that 89 persons were arrested, with one person having tested positive passing the subsequent impairment test.
I am also advised by Garda authorities that records indicate that 52,395 Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints were conducted by An Garda Síochána following the commencement of the relevant legislation in April 2017 to end December 2017.
It should be noted that the statistics provided are provisional, operational and subject to change and are valid as of 1 February 2018.