herald

Sunday 25 June 2017

'We can't regulate rickshaws with motors', says council chief Keegan

A rickshaw in the city centre
A rickshaw in the city centre

Dublin City Council chief Owen Keegan has admitted it will not be possible to regulate rickshaws because new legislation does not cover vehicles with motors.

In a letter seen by the Herald, Mr Keegan admitted that the new legislation as part of the Road Traffic Act 2016 overlooked that most rickshaws are motorised. He said legal advice given to the National Transport Authority (NTA) means it is unlikely the regulations will hold up in court without the type of vehicle being specified.

In November, the Herald revealed that a number of rickshaw drivers operating in the capital were selling class A drugs while they worked.

Following the revelations, calls were made to regulate the vehicles, which transport passengers around the city at night, so they will be licensed and registered with authorities.

Court

However, an oversight in the most recent regulations means that any current attempt would be thrown out in court.

Mr Keegan said that during the legislative process for the Road Traffic Act 2016, a new section was inserted into the Taxi Regulation Act 2013 which allowed the NTA to make regulations.

While this has not yet been implemented, it would not work for the majority of rickshaws because the majority have an electric motor.

"It is considered unlikely that the courts will accept that NTA regulations dealing with rickshaws can be highly detailed without the main Act setting out the type of detail that the NTA can regulate for," Mr Keegan said.

"Recent case law suggests that for regulations to be valid, a framework and items to be regulated must be clearly defined in primary legislation and the regulations must comply with the framework," he added.

Revenue

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn told the Herald that a lack of regulation on rickshaws showed an "incompetence" that needed to be addressed urgently.

"You can't keep track of them, you don't know what kind of money they're making, there's no revenue controls over the situation and it's a major grey area," Mr Flynn said. "It would seem that Galway dealt with them very well... and here we are calling ourselves a capital city," he added.

Rickshaws in Galway were banned by Galway City Council.

The NTA is now set to compile a detailed proposal which will be presented to the Department of Transport over the coming weeks.

The proposal, according to Mr Keegan, is in order to offer an alternative approach to amending the Taxi Regulation Act so it will allow proper licensing and regulation of rickshaws.

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