ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock, president of WIT Professor Willie Donnelly & report authors Louise Walsh and Dr Kathleen Moore Walsh pictured at the Waterford Institute of Technology
An urgent rethink of rural CCTV schemes is needed as funds are going unused according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association.
ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has said it’s time for Minister Flanagan and the Department of Justice to consider amendments to the scheme introduced to help local communities install CCTV systems as a crime prevention measure.
“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.
“Recent figures released by the Department of Justice indicate that only 4% 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," he said.
Mr Sherlock was speaking at a ceremony In Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) to mark the official handing over of the Agricultural Crime in Ireland reports to the Luke Wadding library.
The reports were compiled by Dr Kathleen Moore Walsh, a lecturer in Law and Criminology and Louise Walsh, a lecturer in Accounting and Finance, following the ICSA/WIT Agricultural Crime Survey. The study examined crimes that occur solely on farms or relating to farming activities.
The significant findings of each of the three reports are as follows:
Report 1 provided data on the incidence of agricultural crime in Ireland and found that two thirds of farmers have experienced crime relating to their farming enterprise.
Report 2 provided data on financial costs experienced by farmers arising from agricultural crime and indicated an average cost of €4,328 per respondent with experience of an incident(s) of agricultural crime. The report also found that many farmers were reluctant to report thefts due to the risk of rising insurance premiums. It found that on average farmers were willing to take a financial hit of €1,771.00 rather than report the incident.
Report 3 provided data on agricultural crime reporting to Gardaí and indicated that 45% of such crimes go unreported.
“The nature and scale of agriculture specific crime has been well and truly established with this survey and subsequent reports. 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," Mr Sherlock added.