03 Jul 2022

Laois town switches on delayed CCTV street cameras to cut crime

Laois town switches on delayed  CCTV street cameras to cut crime

The team behind Mountmellick CCTV system, including Neighbourhood Watch members, Laois County Council and the Gardai.

After years of delays, public security cameras have finally been switched on throughout a Laois town.

Mountmellick is the biggest and first town in Laois to get a community CCTV scheme that will be overseen by Laois County Council working as Data Protector.

Some three dozen cameras began going up in late 2020, after fundraising and paperwork by Mountmellick Neighbourhood Watch that began seven years ago.

However the cameras were never actually operating until now.

Delays followed as the council had issues over the unfunded cost and the feared security risk that the role of Data Protector would incur on it and on its staff. Last March the council announced that the Gardaí will now become joint joint data controllers, and they can take on the role of giving evidence in court if footage is used in criminal proceedings.

The Mountmellick committee has announced that the cameras are now rolling, placed on every approach road and in the town centre.

The aim is both to deter criminals and to catch them, with footage available to view only by request of senior Gardaí relating to specific investigations. 

"As from Wednesday the 1st of June after a long few years Mountmellicks CCTV is finally operational & legal. We'd like to thank everyone who has supported this project from the start (August 2015 to June 2022). Thank you Mountmellick & surrounding area," they said.

"Mountmellick Neighbourhood Watch Committee would like to thank John Moran, for going around yesterday & putting the caps on the Cctv poles to make them weather proof," they add, sharing the below photo.

The local community had donated €19,500 towards fundraisers for the cameras and another €36,000 was announced in a Department of Justice grant in 2018, not drawn down until 2020.

However maintaining the cameras into the future will be down to local donations.

To that end, Mountmellick Neighbourhood Watch's annual sale will take place on Sunday June 26 from 11.30am till 5pm. The hall will be opened the previous day on Saturday 25 at 11.30am to 3pm to take in donated items.

Up to a dozen other CCTV schemes in Laois are waiting to follow in Mountmellick's footsteps, to become legally compliant in the battle to fight and track crime. 

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