Deputy Broughan recently received a reply to a Parliamentary Question he asked the Minister for Justice and Equality back in July 2018 on the number of vehicles seized in the Garda R-District (Coolock) for having no tax. Deputy Broughan, of course, has also been asking about the numbers of vehicles seized from unaccompanied learner drivers since the commencement of the ‘Clancy Amendment’ last December. The reply received from the Minister did not provide a breakdown on the reasons for vehicle seizures. The Parliamentary Reply stated that “statistics on vehicle seizures under section 41(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1994 (as amended) are available on PULSE, they are not compiled in such a way that easily allows for the disaggregation into specific offences (i.e. no tax, no NCT, no licence, etc.).”
The information provided in the reply showed that there were 1,175 vehicle seizures in Coolock in 2017, 920 in 2018 and 123 in the first two months of 2019. In total, 2,218 of the 5,871 vehicles seized during this period were seized in the Coolock District of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) North. In 2017, in Ballymun, 1,018 vehicles were seized in 2017, 863 in 2018 and 91 in the first two months of this year, totalling 1,972. Balbriggan had a total of 894 vehicles seized in the two years and two months specified and Raheny had 787 seized. There were 3,064 vehicles seized in 2017 and this dropped significantly to 2,476 in 2018.
Deputy Broughan says “It is very welcome but perhaps a little surprising to see such a drop in vehicle seizures under Section 41 of the 1994 Road Traffic Act between 2017 and 2018. Each of the 4 Districts saw a reduction in the number of vehicles seized. Of course, if the information could be dissected further to know the reasons for seizures we would be able to tell what areas have improved and what areas still require further policy work. Databases holding the information on drivers and licences need to be communicating in real time and investment and innovation in this area are badly needed. Hopefully the lower figures in 2018 are also a concrete reflection of huge efforts by local communities and An Garda Síochána to combat car crime and related serious anti-social behaviour.”