Bye-laws banning rickshaws do not give gardai power to seize vehicles

Galway gardai require more powers of seizure in order to tackle the potentially dangerous presence of rickshaws on the city’s footpaths and streets, the Joint Policing Committee was told this week.

Due to legislation passed by the Galway City Council which bans the use of rickshaws on the city’s streets no more licences are being issued or renewed, however the bye-laws do not go far enough in giving the Garda Siochana the necessary power it needs to actually seize the vehicles.

At the JPC meeting on Monday Cllr Frank Fahy pointed out that “rickshaws are still operating in the city”. He said: “I can’t understand why they can’t be prosecuted and taken off the road. Some of them don’t even have lights on at night. It’s only a matter of time before there is an accident.”

In response, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that while the bye-laws may make rickshaws illegal “our hands are tied in relation to seizure and storing”. It was further explained that the wording of the bye-laws does not include that the rickshaws cannot be used or give powers of seizure to the gardai.

“The operators can have the rickshaws back out the next day. It’s a problem for the city council which has to be addressed,” said Chief Supt Curley, who added that the gardai or the Department of Justice could be held liable for loss of earnings of ricksaw operators if the vehicles are seized, resulting in a bill of €10,000 for loss of earnings.

At the Galway City Council meeting later that evening Cllr Donal Lyons informed council officials about the Chief Superintendent’s advice calling for the bye-laws to be updated. This was supported by Cllr Fahy.

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