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  • Northside West

Scrambler problem is set to continue

Thursday, 30th May, 2019 8:00am
Scrambler problem is set to continue

There’s no end in sight for the anti-social use of scramblers. Photo: Bigstock

Scrambler problem is set to continue

There’s no end in sight for the anti-social use of scramblers. Photo: Bigstock

OPPOSITION parties have rounded on the Government over its decision not to support new legislation designed to target the anti-social use of quads and scrambler bikes.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said legal advice from the Attorney Genera was that current legislative provisions were sufficient to deal with the problem.

He also said it was up to An Garda Síochána to contact the Department of Justice if any legislative gaps were identified.

However, his words will give little comfort to communities in areas like Finglas and Dublin 15 where quads and scrambler bikes often take over local parks and are driven recklessly around housing estates.

Green Party councillor, Roderic O’Gorman (GP), slammed Minister Flanagan’s statement, which came in response to a question from Dublin Rathdown TD, Catherine Martin.

“Last year, following a horrendous case in which a man was critically injured by a scrambler, the Minister convened a ‘cross-agency group’ to advise how to address this issue,” he said.

“It met a couple of times, and sought input from the Attorney General. Now, in a reply to a Dáil question from the Green Party, the Minister has confirmed that the ‘cross-agency group’ has recommended no legislative change. They’ve literally taken a year to decide to do nothing.”

Green Party Cabra-Glasnevin representative, Neasa Hourigan stated scrambler bikes being driven by young teenagers were causing real danger to communities in Cabra, Pelletstown and along the Royal Canal.

“The Minister has to stop hiding behind committee reports and actually act,” she said.

Fianna Fáil’s Keith Connolly who ran in last week’s local election said the Government had abandoned communities plagued by quads and scrambler bikes.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross said a Fianna Fáil bill aimed at addressing the issue wouldn’t work because it risks causing confusion in the law.

Despite that, the bill was passed through the Oireachtas at Second Stage and will progress to pre-legislative scrutiny at Committee Stage but without Government support it faces an uphill battle.

Connolly said there had been several serious incidents and countless near misses involving scramblers and quads.

“There is no room for ambiguity – this is a crisis in anti-social behaviour and public safety,” he added.

“The close-knit communities I aim to represent in Finglas Ballymun are all exhausted from the trouble caused by scramblers and quads.

“They are frightened to step foot on their own doorstep. Some families have no choice but to keep their children in doors to keep them away from the potential harm or injury.”

Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, said it is envisaged that an effective response to the problem would be informed by a combination of targeted enforcement measures, awareness-raising, and youth engagement programmes.

“I must emphasise that policing this issue is a complex matter, due to the difficulties Gardaí experience when attempting to intercept offenders who are in breach of current laws,” he said.

“Interception poses considerable risks to not only the rider, but also to the intercepting Garda and persons in the vicinity.

“However, I remain committed to finding solutions with our partners, and will provide further updates to this House when the conclusions arising from this process become available.”

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