319. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to regulate the trading of scrap metal and cash for gold outlets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9438/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The regulation of these two sectors is a commitment in the Programme for Government. My department is continuing to evaluate the scope of the sectors, with a particular focus on the Cash for Gold sector, with a view to determining the level of regulation which will be proportionate and appropriate.
I am of course keenly aware of the long standing public concern about the way in which Cash for Gold businesses might be abused by criminal elements, particularly burglars. This concern has been highlighted recently in media reports of such abuse. It is, however, important to recognise that regulation of this sector could potentially have a very significant impact on a broad range of businesses, such as jewellers and antique dealers. The regulatory and resource burden of such measures, both for the affected businesses and for the public service, requires careful examination to ensure that it is proportionate to the issue and carefully targeted.
This requires consultation with An Garda Síochána and other Government Departments and stakeholders, which is currently underway. There has already been one round of public consultation on the cash for gold issue, and this has been valuable in feeding into the continuing work within my Department to draw up a workable approach. It may be appropriate to consider a further round prior to finalising proposals for regulation. It is my intention that we will be in a position to publish these proposals within a year.