172. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of roadside drugs tests carried out in each month since April 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6638/18]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): 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 13 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.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that 52,395 Mandatory Intoxicant Testing (MIT) checkpoints were conducted by An Garda Síochána following the commencement of the relevant legislation in April last year to end December 2017, during which 612 oral fluid tests were administered, 90 of which tested positive for the presence of drugs.
I am further advised that the following table details the number of motorists who tested positive for drugs at MIT checkpoints on a monthly basis for the period 13 April to 31 December 2017:

Month, 2017 No. of persons
April 3
May 5
June 10
July 4
August 15
September 6
October 12
November 13
December 22

In relation to the monthly breakdown of tests, I have this sought information from the Garda Commissioner and will contact the Deputy when this is received.
It should be noted that the statistics provided in this table are provisional, operational and subject to change and are valid as of 1 February 2018.