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13 new rural CCTV schemes approved for Laois

Good news this week for communities right across the county who have been fundraising and preparing to establish CCTV Schemes in their localities.

There had been outstanding issues which posed an impediment to the progress on such schemes in terms of a systems controller, GDPR, Garda authorisation and matching funding in terms of grant aid.

This week’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) heard that these matters have now been resolved. The local authority had been working in tandem with the Gardai and the Laois Federation of Community Alert schemes to resolve these matters.

The approval means the green light for 13 new rural CCTV schemes right across the county, many of them having raised tens of thousands in local funding towards the provision of cameras and the supporting technology and infrastructure.

The schemes which have been piloted in some areas are deemed to have proved a significant deterrent to criminals and an important asset in the detection and tracking of criminal gangs.

The communities where schemes have now got the go ahead are Dunmore, Shanahoe, Borris-in-Ossory, Ratheniska, Camross, Woodenbridge, Mountmellick, Donaghmore, Clonaslee, Mountrath, Castletown, Cuddagh and Rosenallis.

Concerns that the schemes should not be delayed any further were raised by Deputy Brian Stanley, and Cllrs John King and Padraig Fleming.

JPC member Bobby Delaney from Mountmellick voiced concerns that the grant aid for such schemes would terminate this year. But he received assurances that funding for the CCTV schemes would be extended into 2020.

“The scheme is operated by the Department of Justice and it will be extended into next year by Minister Flanagan so the advice to the community alert groups is to keep applying,” assured Cllr Conor Bergin, who is attached to Minister Flanagan’s office.

Chief Executive, Mr John Mulholland believed any outstanding issues have now been ironed out, everything is back on track and the Laois groups are in a position to proceed and to avail of grant assistance. He said there had been excellent community buy-in and collaboration.

Members of the Laois Federation of Community Alert Schemes attended the meeting in the public gallery.

Mountmellick Road CCTV

Cllr Caroline Dwane-Stanley requested that a CCTV system be installed to the Mountmellick Road area of Portlaoise.

Chief Superintendent John Scanlon agreed that this was required and that it is a priority for which they had applied for funding. The delay to date he said was a funding issue.

The JPC meeting also unanimously agreed that the Committee would facilitate the nomination of an IFA representative to its ranks.

SEE ALSO – New divisional Garda HQ confirmed for Portlaoise

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John Whelan has been a journalist, commentator, columnist, political analyst, campaigner, politician and publisher ever since he was 17. Having been Editor of the Leinster Express, Offaly Express and the Leinster Leader he has also contributed extensively on a number of issues to all of the country's flagship titles and programmes including the Irish Press, The Irish Independent, the Star, the Sunday Independent, the Sunday Business Post, The Sunday Times and Prime Time. He is founder of Communicate Ireland a PR, public affairs, event management and media services company. He is the author of the popular camping blog, Vanhalla - Camper Heaven.