Garda action needed to tackle ‘plague of scramblers’

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Garda action needed to tackle 'plague of scramblers'

LIMERICK communities plagued by unlawful antisocial behaviour by youngsters on scramblers and quad bikes need answers … and they need them soon.

That was the message to emerge from a special meeting of the Metropolitan District of Limerick City and County Council on Monday, July 13.

The meeting was requested by five metropolitan area councillors who wanted to highlight the ongoing issue regarding the use of quad bikes and scramblers in city estates.

Sinn Féin councillor Sharon Benson said that new by-laws are needed to ensure the powers are given to the Gardaí in Limerick to seize these scramblers and quad bikes.

Cathaoirleach of the Metropolitan District, Cllr Sarah Kiely then told members that under Section 41 of the Road Traffic act, Gardaí have all the powers they need and require to seize said items and prosecute the offenders.

She went on to explain that she and Director of Operations, Kieran Lehane, met with Sergeant Adrian Whelan in Roxboro Road Garda Station on the matter.

“That meeting took place to get answers on the issue relating to whether or not the Gardaí do in fact need new by-laws,” the Fine Gael politician explained.

“I met with Sgt Whelan last Friday with members of the executive to explore what we as a council and the Gardaí need to make sure the communities plagued by this unlawful antisocial behaviour get answers as soon as possible.”

Cllr Sarah Kiely told council members that Sgt Whelan confirmed that under Section 41 of the Road Traffic act, quad bikes and scramblers can be seized.

“It is unlawful to use a mechanically propelled vehicle on a public road, footpath or green area which is a public place. The only difficulty is not being able to pursue these scramblers because if the Gardaí do so and someone is injured it would have serious ramifications for all involved,” Cllr Kiely said.

“Communities across the city have this problem. In my own area, it is a particular problem in Kennedy Park, Glasgow Park, Janesboro, Rathbane, Hyde Road and Weston. There isn’t a day gone by since my election that I haven’t had contact with residents raising this issue.

“I’m surprised someone hasn’t been seriously injured or worse at this point. It is only a matter of time before this happens if the illegal use of these scramblers is not curtailed. 

“We need to be clear on this. The Gardaí have the power to take these vehicles. It is not for the council or the councillors to do this, it is the Gardaí. I would encourage the communities affected to contact the Gardaí and report the activity and keep doing so until you get results. I intend to do the same both as a resident and as a councillor,” she concluded.