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Question

162. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he is taking to address the problem and threat to public safety as a result of the widespread misuse of quad bikes and scramblers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47434/18]

167. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the interdepartmental group in respect of the widespread and growing problem of the misuse of quad bikes and scramblers and the safety threat that this poses to the public thathe has established has only met on two occasions in 2018 as of 9 November 2018; if he will address this issue of public safety as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47432/18]

168. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the advice that the interdepartmental group in respect of the widespread and growing problem of the misuse of quad bikes and scramblers that he has established to examine the issue has received from the Attorney General; and if he will introduce the recommended measures in order to address this issue as a matter of urgency. [47433/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 162, 167 and 168 together.
I would like to acknowledge the Deputy's continued interest in relation to the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes in local communities and the Deputy will be aware that I share her concern regarding this serious public safety issue.
I asked my officials to convene cross-agency consultations to ascertain whether there are additional legislative or other solutions, which can assist in dealing with the misuse of these vehicles comprehensively, with a view to determining responsibility and timeframes for implementation of solutions identified. This process began on 25 April 2018 and involved a number of Government Departments and public bodies, including the Departments of Transport, Tourism and Sport, An Garda Síochána and local authority representatives. The misuse of scramblers in public parks was a particular point of focus.
Following these consultations, a number of relevant pieces of legislation were brought to the attention of the Office of the Attorney General by my Department, to determine whether any legislative amendments were necessary to assist in curbing activity insofar as scramblers and quad bikes are concerned, without giving rise to any unintended negative legislative consequences.
My Department received formal legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General last week. The advice is comprehensive in nature and is now being carefully considered by my officials, together with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in the context of road traffic legislation. It will also be necessary to consult again with other relevant Government Departments and public bodies via the cross-agency forum established by my Department. The Deputy will appreciate that I am not in a position to provide any further details in relation to the legal advice until such time as these consultations are concluded.
My officials participate in a Taskforce established by South Dublin County Council to consider the public order implications of the misuse of these off-road vehicles at a community level. The Taskforce has met on two occasions to date and is scheduled to meet again this afternoon. The Taskforce is a useful and important forum and, indeed, Taskforce discussions informed the Department’s correspondence with the Office of the Attorney General.
Arising from the Taskforce meetings, the road safety officers from each of the Dublin-based local authorities have agreed to organise a public awareness campaign, urging parents not to purchase scramblers and quad bikes as Christmas presents for minors. In addition, the Road Safety Authority has agreed to bring forward a similar safety campaign.
I will continue to closely monitor the consultations that are taking place concerning the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes and will update the Deputy in due course in this regard.