Crime fighting CCTV cameras planned for Portarlington

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Crime fighting CCTV cameras planned for Portarlington

Crime fighting CCTV cameras planned for Portarlington

Work is well underway in Portarlington by a new committee determined to make their town safer with a network of CCTV cameras.
Following in the footsteps of Mountmellick which is the first town with a legal public CCTV network, a committee formed before Christmas and is making quick progress.

Portarlington CCTV committee is chaired by former councillor Paul Mitchell. Also on the committee are Niall and Eoin Coffey, Bernie Bracken and Joe Byrne. It is a sub committee of the recently formed Portarlington Business Association.

PRO Bernie explained more.
“The project will be operated with the full cooperation and input of An Garda Siochana and Laois County Council. Similar projects are up and running in other towns and have shown great benefits in the area of crime prevention and in the reduction of anti social behaviour.
“We will be applying for a grant for this project from the Department of Justice, but we expect that we will have to raise approximately 40% of the money to complete the project. The projected total cost of the project is €40,000,” she said.
They need community support.

"As part of our application for funding we need to show that we have the support of all sections of the community,” she said.

Paul Mitchell gave an update of their progress up to now.
“We are working on our application now, in conjunction with the Gardaí and Laois County Council. We have online meetings with them every two weeks. We have quotes from installers, and we have nailed down locations. We are also applying to be part of the confederation of Laois CCTV groups.

“Every approach road will have cameras, and we will have five or six in Market Square. There are 14 locations. All except one of them are on premises which is easier than putting up a pole,” he said.
“We looked at Mountmellick and we thought it was a great system and idea. Why should Portarlington be left behind? Cameras help the Gardaí detect criminals and to get rid of crime. Naturally they would be a great help. Every town needs them,” he said.

It took Mountmellick committee four years to get up and running, due to a delay by local authorities agreeing to become Data Controllors over cost, legalities and security queries. The path is now smoothened for other towns to follow. with the council and gardaí reps giving full support.

“Barbara Lalor from the Mountmellick committee has been really helpful. There was a committee in Portarlington who tried a few years ago and even opened a credit union account but it fell through because of the strict laws. Now that is sorted and we can put a system in place.

“It is very safe, you can blank off a view if the cameras are facing a yard or a house. Only senior gardaí can look at the footage as part of a crime investigation. They even can log in remotely,” Paul Mitchell said.

The group will need to fundraise about €16,000.
“We haven’t started yet, but already we have businesses ringing us up asking how much we want.”

What they do want now are public opinions.
“Normally there would be a town hall meeting but we haven’t been able to do that with Covid restrictions. So far we have had massive support. We want to hear the negatives and positives from people. They can write to us or phone us. If restrictions ease we hope to have a meeting in the summer,” he said.

“We will have them up as soon as possible,” he said.

Email portarlingtoncctv@gmail. com or write to Paul Mitchell, Lea Road, Portarlington or call him on 087 3582700 to find out more.