The Minister of State for Law Reform, James Browne TD, has today announced a new community-based response to the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes.

Minister of State Browne said: “The anti-social use of scramblers and quad bikes in urban and rural communities poses a potentially serious risk to public safety, as well as impacting negatively on residents’ enjoyment of their local area.

“As part of Justice Plan 2021, I tasked a special sub-group of the Anti-Social Behaviour Forum with delivering proposals that could be brought to Government around a community-based approach to tackling this issue.

“I am delighted to have now secured Government approval for this initiative, which will complement the enhanced legislative provisions being prepared by the Minister for Transport to provide a more coherent and tailored response to the issues connected with the anti-social use of scramblers and other vehicles.”

The Department of Justice, in collaboration with An Garda Síochána and other partners, will now identify local communities most affected by the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes and invite applications from local consortiums for financial assistance for projects to promote pro-social use of these vehicles.

It is envisaged that these local projects will provide opportunities for training in vehicle handling, repair and maintenance. The projects will also include second-chance education, personal development and mentoring for young people who are interested in using these vehicles for sport and recreation purposes.

Minister Browne added, “The detailed admission criteria for participants will be determined at local level by each project and will reflect the admission and referral processes already in place for Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs). Participation will require a commitment by each young person to complete all aspects of the programme and to abstain from illegal or anti-social use of these vehicles.”

The Department of Justice will prepare the detailed requirements for local project proposals and these requirements will be made available as soon as possible. Overall project costs will be met through the Department’s budget for GYDPs.

Minister Browne welcomed the strong support in developing this initiative from An Garda Síochána, and acknowledged the important role of the Departments of Rural and Community Development, and Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in supporting the delivery of community projects through their existing funded programmes, working with  local authorities, local development companies, youth services and ETBs.

Minister Browne concluded, “This approach is exactly the sort of practical response I want to encourage as part of the new Youth Justice Strategy. The strength of a community-based response is that it is directly informed by an awareness of the root causes of anti-social behaviour and how it manifests in local communities. I want to thank all our partners for their constructive involvement in developing this approach and the Anti-Social Behaviour Forum will continue its support during project rollout.