The Minister of State with responsibility for Law Reform, James Browne TD, today hosted a special meeting of a subgroup of the Forum on Anti-Social Behaviour to consider community-based approaches to address the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes.

The meeting was convened in order to gather information and insight to help produce proposals for community-based interventions as part of the overall package of measures which the Government will be advancing to tackle the issue. The group has been tasked with presenting proposals, which can be considered by Government, within 4 weeks.

Minister Browne said, “The misuse of scramblers, quad-bikes and similar off-road vehicles is a cause of serious concern in a number of communities, particularly in Dublin, but affecting other parts of the country too. Typically issues arise where vehicles are used on public open spaces in housing estates, playing pitches or in public parks. Unfortunately there have been incidents in the last few years leading to fatal or very serious life-changing injuries.

 “Following discussions with the Taoiseach and at Cabinet, there is clear support at the highest level for a concerted initiative to deliver on the commitments in the Programme for Government on this issue.

 “I asked people to come together today, under the banner of the Forum on Anti-Social Behaviour which I established last year, following on a commitment in the Programme for Government. My hope is that this group will help to address a difficult issue which is of concern to many communities and that we will support measures that will have a practical effect on the ground.”

The Moyross Garda Youth Diversion Project delivered a presentation at the meeting on a promising model which they have developed which involves engaging young people in a programme of motor cross training and vehicle maintenance. The programme, which has seen sustained success over a number of years, requires a commitment from those young people participating to staying off the greens and roads in the area and staying out of trouble in order to participate. It is believed that such a programme could be replicated nationally.

The meeting also considered alignment with broader youth services, communications and awareness raising, and a potential support package for affected areas.

The meeting was attended by members of An Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice, the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, and Galway County Council (representing Local Government Management).