Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Minister rejects scrap metal Bill

22. Gerald Murphy and family, Clearway. £73m, down £15m

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has rejected legislation to clamp down on the sale of stolen gold and scrap metals.

He said the Bill, published by Independent TD Mattie McGrath, would stretch gardai resources too far and fail to tackle criminal trading.

"Whatever claims are made for it, it would not provide the gardai with effective powers in this area," Mr Shatter said. "In practice, it would neither help the gardai nor deter those involved in nefarious trading."

Mr McGrath's Bill calls for gold and metal outlets to keep records of sales, which would include demanding sellers provide photo ID and their own descriptions of the items in question.

The Tipperary South TD said criminals would think twice before selling stolen goods knowing gardai could trace the sale back to them.

"There are no boundaries to stop these cowboys and rogues plundering our national treasures and wreaking havoc," said Mr McGrath.

The Bill also calls for traders to hold gold and metal for 30 days before having it melted, to give gardai time to trace stolen property.

"What is really a problem is the amount of homes that have been pillaged and plundered, and families devastated," Mr McGrath said. "It's hard enough for people to make ends meet. Your home is your castle. When you're out at work, at school or at church and your home is targeted, it's eroded and feels unclean from that day onwards."

However, Mr Shatter argued that the proposed legislation was lacking in a number of areas. The minister said legitimate organisations such as vintage jewellery and antique shops could be adversely affected by the measures.

Mr Shatter added that the Bill had failed to prove that a rise in burglaries - in residential homes, commercial properties, churches and farms - was connected to the cash-for-gold and metal industries.

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