358. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons convicted for driving while using a mobile telephone in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the average fine for each of the same years; his plans to introduce stronger deterrents for this offence in the near future; the number of repeat offenders and the average fine a repeat offender was charged over the same time period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23851/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions, and this includes the provision of information on the courts system.
I have requested information from the Courts Service and it has provided the following data. I should add that the Courts Service has informed me that there is no data available on the number of repeat offenders.  
The Deputy has asked about stronger deterrents, and I can inform him that in so far as this would appear to relate to steps in relation to road traffic legislation that this is not a matter for my Department.   
Report on the number of persons convicted for driving while using a mobile phone and the average fine for 2016, 2017, 2018 & Jan – June 2019.

Year No of Persons Convicted Average Fine
2016 1,887 €205.40
2017 1,659 €219.35
2018 1,598 €224.51
Jan –   Jun 2019 693 €215.42