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Confusion over apparent CCTV disparity between Wexford and Gorey parks

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New HD CCTV cameras have been fitted at Carne Pier.

New HD CCTV cameras have been fitted at Carne Pier.

Labour councillor George Lawlor.

Labour councillor George Lawlor.

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New HD CCTV cameras have been fitted at Carne Pier.

wexfordpeople

LABOUR councillor George Lawlor was left with a furrowed brow as there was some confusion in the council chamber around the topic of CCTV last week.

The conversation started off light-hearted enough. "I see twelve new CCTV cameras have been approved for Gorey Town Park, a park of 14 acres,” Cllr Lawlor noted. “Meanwhile, we’re being told that we’re hoping to get four cameras for the Min Ryan Park in Wexford, a park of 18 acres. Maybe it’s that Gorey people are more photogenic, but can I ask why that’s the case?

"You’d nearly want to give away your first born to get CCTV cameras installed, with the amount of hoops you have to jump through. Last year I put aside some of my discretionary funding for CCTV at Min Ryan Park and things are moving at a snail’s pace with the legislation around it. Of the four cameras, the indications I’m getting is that we’ll be lucky to get one camera there. It doesn't make sense. We’ve invested a lot of money there. The playground cost in excess of €400,000; the changing places unit cost €45,000; the toilet facilities etc were very costly. It’s a bigger park and a larger number of people use it from right across the county.”

County Secretary and Data Protection Officer for Wexford County Council David Minogue seemed in no mood to be drawn into comparing the two. He dismissed Cllr Lawlor’s query and noted that the item that was before the members was to approve an additional 12 cameras for Wexford town (South Main Street, Min Ryan Park and Redmond Park) and an additional 5 CCTV cameras for Bunclody, at a total cost of €45,000. He said proposals for the Gorey park were “another issue entirely”.

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Not to be put off, Cllr Lawlor once again asked why Gorey Town Park was to get an additional 12 cameras, while a maximum of four were planned for the Min Ryan Park.

"It hasn’t been approved,” Mr Minogue said. “There’s a proposal for 12 new cameras in Gorey. There’s already five cameras active there. In my view, as Data Protection Officer, putting 17 cameras into a public park would be a stretch.”

It appears that while a proposal for 12 cameras was approved by the Joint Policing Committee, it still has to come before the full council for formal approval.

Gorey councillor Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin noted that the cameras in Gorey Town Park were badly needed, particularly in the wake of the recent mindless destruction of the park’s toilets, and urged that nothing delay the installation of new cameras there. Cllr Lawlor at this point stressed that he had no issue with the additional cameras for Gorey Town Park, but rather he just wanted similar provisions for the Min Ryan.

There was cause for further confusion as Cathaoirleach of the Enniscorthy District Cllr Cathal Byrne noted that the proposal on the cameras in Bunclody had not been brought before he and his colleagues at district level for discussion before being brought before the full council, as per usual protocol. Mr Minogue agreed to allow the Enniscorthy members time to discuss the CCTV system in Bunclody and agreed that this would come before the full council again at the next meeting.

That left just Wexford again town before the members for approval. Cllr Davy Hynes backed Cllr Lawlor’s concerns in relation to CCTV coverage of Min Ryan Park when compared with Gorey.

"It should be based on the size of the park, fair is fair,” he said. 

“All we’re doing here is approving the extension of CCTV cameras in Wexford, that’s it,” a frustrated Mr Minogue said, hoping to draw a line under it. This was approved, and the Cathaoirleach was keen to move on, but there still seems to be some confusion over whether Gorey Town Park is to actually receive twelve new cameras and how many are to be installed in the Min Ryan Park, which currently has none.


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