Calls for rethink of CCTV scheme as funds go unused

CCTV installation and usage must comply with data protection legislation
CCTV installation and usage must comply with data protection legislation
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Calls have been made for Department of Justice to consider amendments to the scheme introduced to help local communities install CCTV systems to prevent crime.

ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has said the funding was allocated but the take up has been miniscule.

"We cannot allow the funding to go unused because of an overly arduous application process,” he said.

He said recent figures released by the Department of Justice indicate that only 4pc of the €3m CCTV funding available has been spent.

"Reaching the halfway point in the scheme and with only €120,000 spent indicates a problem somewhere.

"An urgent review needs to be carried out at this stage to see how local communities can be further assisted with utilising the scheme. Of particular importance is clarification as to whether the Gardaí or local authorities are responsible managing the footage collected.”

Mr Sherlock said the nature and scale of agriculture specific crime has been well and truly established and rural people want more resources in community policing, stiffer sentences for repeat offenders and closer consultation between rural stakeholders, local authorities and An Garda Siochana.

Under the scheme, which is being administered by the Department of Justice, eligible community groups can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum grant of €40,000.

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Speaking in the Seanad recently Minster for Justice Charlie Flanagan said some 11 applications have been received to date.

He said he understands the Department has been informed a further 14 applications will be submitted before the end of this month.

Four applications under the scheme have been approved to date, with funding totalling almost €120,000. A further four applications are under active consideration.

The remaining three applications have been returned to the applicants concerned to enable them to provide the information necessary to qualify for the grant aid, he said.

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