Dáil to debate Bill on regulation of scrap metal

Legislative proposal follows high-profile robberies of metal from railway tracks and buildings

Independent TD Mattie McGrath will introduce the Bill on regulation of scrap metal. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Independent TD Mattie McGrath will introduce the Bill on regulation of scrap metal. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 21:46

The Dáil will tomorrow debate legislation to regulate the scrap metal industry in the wake of high profile robberies of metal from railway tracks, telecoms masts and listed buildings.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath will introduced the Scrap and Precious Metal Dealers Bill, an amended version of legislation he introduced more than two years ago in a bid to prevent such thefts and to regulate the ‘cash for gold’ business.

The Tipperary South TD said that when the Minister for Justice rejected his Bill in March 2012 he promised to introduce his own legislation. “But there has been nothing since then.”

He said people’s homes were being broken into with precious metals such as gold jewellery being stolen and then sold to cash buyers without any proof of ownership required.

“They can just send it off in the post with no proof of ownership and get cash back.”

He wants tighter controls on the sale of precious metals including gold as well as bronze, lead and copper. Mr McGrath said there had been an explosion in the value of scrap and precious metals and there was no industry regulation.

“Limerick junction has been a target a number of times” he said of the theft of cable supplying the signal at the railway line, which had cost more than €500,000 to replace.

And there was the recent theft of metal on the Dart line at Greystones, Co Wicklow as well as the theft of street manholes, which he said created huge dangers.

Mr McGrath said the Georgian Society supported the legislation and its houses had been targeted including the robbery of items such as metal door knobs and lead from roofs.

The legislation, with eight amendments to the original Bill, provides for the registration of all scrap metal dealers and ensures payments must be traceable through cheque or bank draft. The Bill also requires a holding period of one month before metals are melted down and includes penalties of varying levels for offenders.