Ru­ral CCTV sys­tems face two-year de­lay for ap­proval

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - MAR­TIN RYAN

RED TAPE is de­lay­ing the in­stal­la­tion of CCTV cam­eras in ru­ral lo­ca­tions by up to two years, farm lead­ers have claimed.

Com­mu­ni­ties through­out the coun­try have stepped up the cam­paign for in­creased garda vis­i­bil­ity and ex­pan­sion of ru­ral CCTV af­ter the re­cent at­tack on Richie McKelvey, a 54-year-old farmer, who was as­saulted in his home in Brosna, on the Tip­per­ary/ Of­faly bor­der.

Gar­dai at­tended IFA meet­ings in Tip­per­ary and Limerick last week and heard farm­ers ex­press “real fear” for their safety.

IFA spokesman Jer Ber­gin (Laois) told the meet­ing in Tip­per­ary that the time­frame for in­stalling CCTV cam­eras at mo­tor­way ex­its and other lo­ca­tions needed to be speeded up “be­cause two years is too long”.

He also sup­ported a plea from gar­dai for farm­ers to ID­mark their equip­ment.

“We are go­ing to make ID­mark­ing an is­sue to be raised at branch meet­ings, which are now com­menc­ing,” he said.

“We will see if it is pos­si­ble that a ser­vice to mark and pho­to­graph equip­ment for farm­ers can be or­gan­ised at lo­cal level in each branch area.”

Sergeant Tom O’Dwyer, Crime Prevention Of­fi­cer, Thurles said that the in­stal­la­tion of cam­eras to mon­i­tor pub­lic roads has to be a “com­mu­nity-based” un­der­tak­ing and re­quires the ap­proval of the Garda Com­mis­sioner.

The lengthy de­lays in the process are due to is­sues un­der Data Pro­tec­tion Act and rights to pri­vacy.

He added that while farm­ers are en­ti­tled to in­stall cam­eras within their own farm­yards and lands, these cam­eras can­not be used to mon­i­tor pub­lic roads with­out pro­ce­dural ap­proval.

Three CCTV schemes at M8/M7 mo­tor­way junc­tions in Lit­tle­ton, Burgess and Bird­hill which were ini­ti­ated in early 2016 have yet to be com­pleted.

Mean­while, farm­ers at an IFA meet­ing in Adare, Co Limerick also heard a garda plea for more ID-mark­ing.

Pros­e­cu­tion

“We have re­cov­ered tons of farm equip­ment, but trac­ing the own­ers of the prop­erty is the trou­ble,” said Garda In­spec­tor Alan Cullen, New­castlewest.

“We can­not bring a pros­e­cu­tion with­out proof of own­er­ship — that is a big prob­lem for us,” he said.

“A quad with a track­ing de­vise was taken in the area and aban­doned a short dis­tance away be­cause they knew that there was noth­ing that they could do with it. If the equip­ment is marked, it can­not be sold on.”

He also warned farm­ers that they should “stay away from in­trud­ers if you find them on your prop­erty — stay at a dis­tance and call the gar­dai”.

IFA deputy pres­i­dent Richard Kennedy told the meet­ing that greater garda pres­ence and vis­i­bil­ity is re­quired to tackle ru­ral crime.

“I have trav­elled over 100,000km since May last year at all hours of the day and night and I have been stopped by gar­dai not more than three times. There is no vis­i­bil­ity of gar­dai on the ground,” said Mr Kennedy.

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