35. Deputy John Curran asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she and the Minster for Transport, Tourism and Sport will liaise to review the legislation surrounding the use of quads by youths in housing estates and public parks; the difficulties being experienced by An Garda Síochána in seizing, apprehending and retaining these quads; the actions she proposes to take to address this growing and increasing problem; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40467/16]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am aware of concerns that have been expressed in relation to this matter and I have consulted with the Garda authorities accordingly.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that these vehicles, when used in a public place, must comply with the Road Traffic Acts, including in relation to motor tax, insurance and possession of a valid driver licence or learner permit. Under the Road Traffic Acts, any member of An Garda Síochána may stop a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place and demand production of a driver licence or learner permit. In addition, Gardaí may inspect the vehicle for compliance with vehicle standards legislation, which makes it an offence to drive without reasonable consideration, drive carelessly, or drive dangerously. The Garda authorities also have powers of seizure, detention, storage and disposal of vehicles under road traffic legislation.
I also understand that the use of quad bikes and scramblers in public parks and open spaces may be prohibited under local authority bye-laws.
Despite the legislative provisions in this area, the Garda authorities have indicated that the use of quad bikes and scramblers by minors and youths in public parks has proven difficult to deal with from an enforcement perspective . Garda members are instructed not to pursue youths on quad bikes, scramblers, etc. owing to the inherent safety issues involved and the risk of serious injury or death. Therefore the opportunity to actually bring these vehicles to a stop is rare.
The Garda authorities have advised that the issue may be best addressed through a multi-agency approach. In this regard, Gardaí are working with local authorities, including park authorities, to examine other solutions, such as engineering solutions. Enhanced fencing and bike gates are examples of engineering measures taken to restrict access to parks.
I do of course share the Deputy's concerns in relation to the public safety and anti-social issues associated with the misuse of such vehicles. While I am happy to engage as necessary with the Minister for Transport in relating to the legislative issues, it is clear that all aspects of this matter cannot be addressed by legislation alone. In this regard, the Road Safety Authority may have a role in developing further responses in this area, in addition to An Garda Síochána and local authorities.