KILDARE councillors rallied together recentlyto put pressure on council officials to push ahead with community CCTV schemes.
In a united effort the members called for a feasability study for the scheme, which is mostly funded by the Department of Justice, in response to fears about crime in rural areas.
The department made €1 million available for such schemes last year but there was a slow uptake from councils around the country. It had been envisioned that similar budgets would be announced for 2018 and 2019.
Councillors Aoife Breslin, Fintan Brett, Kevin Byrne, Suzanne Doyle, Daragh Fitzpatrick, Ivan Keatley, Anthony Larkin, Sorcha O’Neill, Padraig McEvoy and Mark Stafford all put forward a motion at a recent meeting of the full council, calling on the council to complete, as a matter of urgency, a study of the infrastructure and resources necessary to support the scheme.
Director of Services for Community, Sonya Kavanagh, suggested the scheme be trialed in a pilot location so the council could work through all the stages required.
Athy’s Cllr Aoife Breslin said she was disappointed with this reply.
“Some work was done but a year later and we are still no further along, crime figures for burglaries are up,” she said.
She said the scheme is only running for three years and is concerned that no progress has been made a year in.
Naas’s Cllr Sorcha O’Neill agreed.
“People are living in fear, there are vulnerable elderly people living alone. Why do we need a pilot project, what’s the hold up?” she asked.
Athy’s Cllr Ivan Keatley questioned the hold up also noting that the joint policing committee and the gardai had approved the scheme.
“This is an opportunity to deliver something to people living in rural Kildare who have been scourged by transient criminals,” he said.
“I think we need to do more than a pilot.”
He suggetsed running workshops in local communities and carrying out a feasability study so they are ready to move ahead with the next step.
Director of Services for Roads, Transportation and Public Safety, Niall Morrissey, said there are two issues with the scheme. The first is with data protection and the second with funding.
He said the council is currently working on a policy to cover the data issues and secure funding for the running and maintenance of the scheme.
“The repair, maintenance and management of data all falls on the local authority,” he said.
“We are supportive, we want this to happen.”
Cllr Brendan Weld said the Maynooth district has ring fenced €100,000 from the budget for running costs.
Chief Executive Peter Carey said the scheme had been flagged as problematic by the data commissions office but added that clearing this issue is “imminent”.
“We will give a general commitment here that we’ll get on with it,” he said.
“We all appreciate the benefit of it but there is no point in giving false promises.”
Cllr Ivan Keatley said he couldn’t let the matter go and he asked that the proposal for a feasability study be put to the floor.
Mr Morrissey said the proposed pilot project is similar to a feasability study and the members agreed to go ahead with this.