Dáil Éireann - Volume 643 - 11 December, 2007
Written Answers. - National Drugs Strategy.
Deputy James Reilly Deputy James Reilly
Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on whether a zero tolerance testing regime using drug testing systems already available and used  here in places of detention should be immediately put in place taking into account the recent tragic cases in the media; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34384/07]
Deputy Brian Lenihan Deputy Brian Lenihan
Deputy Brian Lenihan: I assume the Deputy’s question to be in respect of testing drivers for the presence of illegal drugs. Currently, the Road Traffic Acts provides that a member of the Garda Síochána may, where he or she is of the opinion that a person in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place is under the influence of a drug or drugs to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of that vehicle, require that person to go to a Garda station and further require that person submit to a blood test or to provide a urine sample.
The Medical Bureau of Road Safety analyses blood and urine specimens received under the Road Traffic Acts for the presence of a drug or drugs. Urine analysis is the principal method used in testing for drugs in places of detention. Enforcement of the law on drug driving is a matter for An Garda Síochána. When a member of the Gardaí suspects that a motorist is driving under the influence of any intoxicant the Garda may arrest the suspect under Section 49 of the Road Traffic Act 1961.
As the Deputy will appreciate, road traffic legislation is a matter for the Department of Transport and I am informed by my colleague, the Minister for Transport, that at present there is no reliable equipment available for the purpose of roadside testing for drugs.
I am further informed that the Department of Transport will keep under review the development of technology internationally for such testing and that when suitable technology becomes available, any further legislative measures, if required, to facilitate its use will be introduced.
Dáil Éireann 643 Written Answers. National Drugs Strategy.