An update on the Programme for Government that CCTV cameras would be erected at all motorway junctions, was sought in the Dáil by Fianna Fáil Deputy Bobby Aylward.
Speaking during Question Time, he said gangs are travelling from the main cities to rural Ireland via motorways in order to rob people and are on the motorway again within ten, 20 or 30 minutes.
“The only way to stop them is via the use of CCTV cameras,” he said. “When will they be erected? What will the cost be and will it be done before the next general election. Community policing is also important. I keep emphasising that every Garda station should have a community liaison officer. As people trust community liaison officers, the more we have, the better.”
In response, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said he was anxious to ensure all interested groups in urban and rural areas will take advantage of the grants scheme available in his Department. “Last year I announced an annual sum of €1 million for three years which would be ring-fenced for community CCTV system grants,” he said. “The number of applications to date is lower than I wished for.”
He said he was asking all Deputies, including Deputy Aylward, to spread the word that these grants are available. Support and guidance is also available to help interested groups apply for the funding. “I strongly encourage interested groups to contact my Department for assistance,” he said. “We have set up a dedicated email address for this purpose, which is email@example.com. Bearing in mind that all applications approved to date have been from local authorities, any local authorities that have not yet applied may also find it useful to consider consulting their counterparts in other areas. I am not sure if I have an application from Kilkenny but I have an application approved for the adjoining county of Wexford. I am anxious to ensure - I see three rural Deputies in the House - that we provide the appropriate level of information to community groups to allow them to make the application. Grant aid and assistance in my Department will be up to €40,000 per application.”
Deputy Aylward said he was talking about is not the community CCTV in villages. “I am talking about CCTV coming off motorways which should be sponsored by TII and the Government,” he added.