People power is the only way to overcome obstacles to crime fighting community-led CCTV systems in Laois according to the crime journalist Paul Williams.
He was speaking at a public meeting in Laois where community alert groups from across the county met to organise a united campaign that would allow groups to set up their cameras schemes. Existing schemes also joined to make their schemes legally watertight.
Mr Williams told the Laois groups that a meeting of thousands of people in Tipperary in 2015 led to millions of Euro being spent on Operation Thor to fight criminal gangs in rural Ireland.
He urged people to people to stand up for themselves to stop those in authority from kicking the can down the road.
For resource and other reasons, Laois County Council is refusing to act as Data Controller on community-led CCTV schemes. Grants cannot be released for schemes unless it does so.
Under the law, all community schemes must have the local authority as a data controller.
Existing schemes in Laois are in a legal limbo because the council is not the declared Data Controller of any community-led CCTV scheme.