Two Laois villages have taken a big step closer to erecting a crime fighting CCTV camera network on their roads.
This week the Joint Policing Committee met and gave approval for Rosenallis and Dunmore to get the legally compliant community CCTV systems.
It will mean that Laois will be the county with the most community CCTV systems in Ireland, according to Laois Offaly Kildare Garda Chief John Scanlan.
"There are more CCTV projects in this county than any other in the state. It is not the total panacea it is described to be. Sometimes it can have a displacement effect on crime, it happens on the other side of the cameras," he said.
The Garda Chief added that communities must bear most of the brunt of paying for the cameras, with thousands needed to be raised first to qualify for a Government grant, and then money needed to be donated every year locally to maintain the cameras.
When the new cameras can go up and be turned on is still an unknown.
"This is an approval in principal. Details and locations are to be worked out over the weeks and months ahead," Laois County Council official Carmel McNichol told the meeting.
Cllr John King proposed the approval, seconded by Cllr James Kelly.
For Dunmore who already had erected their own cameras some years ago, the approval is for Phase II. This will also make the cameras fully compliant with Laois County Council having agreed last year to act as Data Controller for such systems. The footage can only be viewed by Gardaí following approval by a senior Garda for specific investigations.
Mountmellick was the first town in Laois to get the new scheme installed and is shortly to turn their cameras on after several years of fundraising, negotiating paperwork, waiting for the council to agree to be data controller and finally installing the system and waiting for connection.
JPC member Bobby Delaney is a member of the Mountmellick committee and spoke at the meeting.
"It was one of the easiest fundraisers I was ever on, people just walked in and gave us money. The whole community in Mountmellick is behind the cameras. Our committee has gone down from 18 to six. Hopefully when the cameras are launched we will get new blood," he said.
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