12 Aug 2022

Frustrated Laois community alert groups demand authorities to explain CCTV delay


Community alert groups from all over Laois are to demand answers from politicians and civil servants as to why crimefighting CCTV schemes are delayed up to two years after thousands of euro was raised to install cameras.

Woodenbridge Community Alert has thrown open its AGM next Wednesday, December 12 to the groups from across Laois. 

They have invited Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, Laois TDs Brian Stanley and Sean Fleming, county councillors, Laois County Council and Laois gardaí to come to discuss the CCTV holdup.

Also coming to hear answers are community alert reps from Mountmellick, Donaghmore, Clonaslee, with an open invitation to all other Laois groups to attend.

They want to whey the row over data control has not been sorted.

Woodenbridge Chairman Michael G Phelan said locals are asking why the cameras are not up.

it is two years since the group gathered €5,000 of local donations for the cameras, to try and catch criminals that come off the nearby motorways to target their rural homes and farms.

"It's not fair on people who supported it. We were encouraged to go ahead, we got the locations agreed, permission off householders to use their electricity, we did all the mapping and got planning permission, we got the letters, but when it came to the Garda Commissioners to sign off the licence, which is needed to give evidence in court, it came unstuck," he said.

Some groups are considering giving back the money they raised he said, but because Woodenbridge raised their money by bucket collections on sponsored walks, they can't do the same.

"It's time they told the public at a public meeting what they are going to do to sort this, whether they scrap it or change legislation. We are only hearing secondhand information. It's a big issue, it affects everyone," he said.

In April 2017 The government launched a €3 million grant system towards the cost of installing the crime fighting cameras for rural communities, but since then many local authorities including Laois have refused to take on the responsibility of data control, stalling the schemes.

The Annual General Meeting agenda will follow the public meeting, which starts at 8.30pm in Newtown Mill on Wednesday December 12.

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