Deputy Bobby Aylward
The failure by the Government to honour its commitment to erect CCTV cameras at key locations on motorways, which are being used by criminal gangs to access and escape the communities they are terrorising was raised in the Dáil by Deputy Bobby Aylward.
Speaking during a debate on a motion on crime, he said two motorways go through his constituency of Carlow-Kilkenny, the M9 and M7. “Organised gangs are targeting businesses, robbing them and using the motorway to aid their escape,” he said. “Billions of euro of taxpayers' money have been spent on upgrading our motorways over recent decades, and the advantages of this investment speak for themselves, but we must do more to police our national primary routes effectively.”
Referring back to the community-based CCTV grant-aided scheme, Deputy Aylward said he was receiving complaints about the cumbersome application process from individual communities around the country, in particular those in his area.
“I accept that taxpayers' money must be put to good use and due diligence must be applied to the application to ensure that CCTV systems are effective, but there must be some way of streamlining the system,” he said. “I know of one text alert group in my constituency that is seeking clarification from the local authority and the Garda as to who will have responsibility for monitoring the footage. The local authority continues to state that it awaits advice on data protection legislation, and this has been ongoing for some time. The community is setting it up and getting funding from the Department, yet no one is taking responsibility because of data protection legislation. This needs to be clarified in order that these schemes can be put in place. This would at least be of help in crime prevention. Perhaps the Minister of State (David Stanton) could indicate where the responsibility lies. Approximately €17,000 has been collected by the people of the community I speak of, and the CCTV is badly needed.”
Turning to the bail laws, Deputy Aylward said everyone knew about people out on bail who commit crimes and then come before the courts. “We all know of terrible cases in which they have 40 or 50 cases against them and they are out on bail,” he said. “These people do not mind the recording of another offence against them. It means nothing to them. Fianna Fáil brought forward legislation in the Dáil and in our manifesto during the previous general election proposing that second and third offenders would not get free legal aid or, if they did, would only get it on a limited basis. These people do not care. They are free to commit more crime, more robberies - it is usually robberies - and what difference does another one or two convictions make when added to the five, six or 20 they have already? I ask the Minister of State to look at our bail laws and do something about people who commit crime consistently. They should be kept either in jail or under a curfew such that they cannot go out and create havoc in our communities, in particular in rural Ireland.”