New powers would allow gardaí clamp down on scrambler and quad use

Proposals focus on their anti-social use in parks, green spaces and on waste land

Gardaí will be given new powers to clamp down on the anti-social use of scramblers and quads in parks, green spaces and on waste land under proposals to be considered at Cabinet today.

The proposals, which will be brought by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, will make it an offence to use a quad or scrambler in these and other locations without the consent of a landowner. They will not apply to privately owned land, such as farms.

Through committee stage amendments to the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, the Garda will be given powers to detain the vehicles on the spot, and will also be able to enter private property with a warrant to remove a vehicle.

The powers are designed to target the use of scramblers and quads on land that wasn’t covered by road traffic legislation. Under the Road Traffic Act, quads and scramblers are already regulated in public spaces as mechanically propelled vehicles. Other avenues to regulate and clamp down further on the use of the vehicles in an anti-social manner are also being developed by an interdepartmental working group chaired by the Department of Justice.


Defective housing

Elsewhere, Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien will tell Cabinet that the first meeting of a working group set up to examine the issue of defective housing will take place next month. In an update for Cabinet, Mr O'Brien will say that identifying the scope of relevant significant defects, the scale of the problem, proposing a means of prioritising defects and evaluating the costs of remediation will be the main purposes of the group. It will also consider financing options for those impacted by defects, with a priority on apartment buildings with fire safety or architectural faults.

Seamus Neely, former chief executive of Donegal County Council, has been appointed to chair the working group.

The Green's deputy leader, Minister for Culture Catherine Martin, will also brief cabinet on her plans to hold a St Patrick's Festival this year, including a virtual parade and a TV channel dedicated to the festival and a special broadcast on RTÉ.

‘Hybrid’ festival

Ms Martin will also tell Cabinet that up to €1 million will be committed in programme funding for the "hybrid" festival by her department. Alongside €400,000 from Fáilte Ireland, the funding will go towards providing employment and commissioning funding for artists and entertainers who usually derive income from the St Patrick's Day period. More than 100 events, encompassing a mix of outdoor, broadcast, digital and tech events will take place over the course of the festival.

An Irish language-focused element of the festival, Nathanna Cainte, will feature a programme of Irish language events, including a reading workshop for young people in conjunction with TG4 and a bilingual poetry, rap and music event.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times