Fianna Fáil has highlighted the need for tough regulation of the scrap metal industry and has called for greater security in the trading of scrap and precious metal in order to curb criminal activity.

Fianna Fáil’s Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins and Kilmallock Councillor Mike Donegan raised the matter with Garda Chief Superintendent David Sheahan at a meeting of the Co Limerick Joint Policing Committee this week (Monday 08 October 2012).

Cllr Mike Donegan proposed a motion calling on the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to introduce proper regulations for the sale, supply and purchase of scrap and precious metal.  The motion was backed by Deputy Collins.

Speaking afterwards, Cllr Donegan said, “According to Chief Superintendent Sheahan around €31 million worth of scrap metal is sold every year.  This has become a booming business in Co Limerick and across rural Ireland, and there is clearly a need to implement stricter controls over the selling, purchasing and storage of scrap metal.”

Deputy Collins said, “Chief Superintendent Sheahan has assured us that the gardaí here are monitoring this activity closely.  However I am concerned that they simply do not have the backing of the law to tackle the criminals who are making a fortune from selling stolen scrap metal.

“Before the summer Fine Gael and Labour voted down a Bill to empower the gardaí in pursing criminals in the scrap metal trade and act as a strong disincentive to the continued robbery of precious metals in Limerick and across rural Ireland.  We have yet to see any alternative proposals from them to regulate this lucrative business. It is extremely disappointing that this Government is simply not taking this issue seriously. I will be pushing the Justice Minister on this issue in the Dáil in the coming weeks,” Deputy Collins said.