Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that when it comes to tackling the scourge of mopeds, scramblers, and quads tearing through our communities, the Government is either uninterested or so uncoordinated as to be incapable of policing these dangerous vehicles that are a direct threat to the life and safety of people, particularly the young and elderly, some of whom are frightened to walk down their own street for fear of being knocked down.
Teachta Crowe said that the Government position on these mopeds, quads, and scramblers was changing week to week and that it is impossible to get a straight answer even from one government department as another will actually contradict it.
Teachta Crowe said:
“In response to a question I put to him this week, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said that he is ‘acutely aware of the severe difficulties and dangers this activity caused in the communities’. The Minister also said that the Garda Commissioner had suggested potential legislative changes which could assist in improving policing in this area.
“In response to a similar question, Minister for Transport Shane Ross said that his officials are ‘currently exploring a possible approach in the legislation’ and that the passing of this legislation was only dependent on the formation of a new Government.
“However, in a response to my party colleague Darren O’Rourke TD only two weeks ago, Transport Minister Ross said that he had been advised that the Garda authorities were satisfied that it has the necessary powers to deal with cases concerning the use of these scramblers.
“What changed in the space of those two weeks?
“What is the official position of government when it comes to these vehicles and what is the position of An Garda Síochána regarding the need for legislative change?
“Or is it down to inaction and the legislation is in fact sufficiently strong for them to act.
“As a Dublin South West TD, I don’t know from these answers, but more importantly the communities I represent and who have to endure these quads, scramblers, and mopeds driving around their parks green spaces and estates for years don’t know. It is impossible to get a straight answer on an issue that has been undermining the quality of life of many of our citizens.
“When I first raised this issue a number of years ago, the Minister replying was unaware of any problems so I suppose there has been at least some development in the governments understanding of the problem.
“Clearly, there is widespread confusion in government on what the position is, as the different answers and the replies from the Department of Transport clearly show.
“Fine Gael TDs who show up at residents’ meetings are also at odds with their Ministerial colleagues’ inaction. They promise new legislation, but deliver absolutely nothing to address the problem.
“The entire approach from successive governments has been one of denial, delay, confusion, stalling, and the rejection of any attempts by the Opposition to keep our communities safe. A Sinn Féin Bill was dismissed, and voted down with claims that it wouldn’t work and was ‘unnecessary’.
“We know that people have been killed and injured by these vehicles. We know that their use has turned many green spaces and parks into no go areas. We know that they are driven daily on the paths and roads of estates in cities and towns throughout Ireland and yet we are told legislation might or might not be needed.
“Establishing a cross-department group that meets intermittently or only as a box ticking exercise is deceptive and does not deliver anything for communities eagerly waiting for solutions. We need decisive answers, clear ideas, and new approaches to eliminate this ever-growing problem facing communities. Clearly, this dysfunctional government are incapable of clear answers and are all at odds when it comes to workable solutions to combat the menace of the illegal use of quads, scramblers, and mopeds.”