Heated de­bate over the use of new RAPID funds

The Argus - - NEWS -

THE use of a new grant un­der the RAPID scheme to fund CCTV led a heated de­bate over ar­eas of ‘de­pri­va­tion’,

Coun­cil­lors at the Dun­dalk Mu­nic­i­pal District com­mit­tee heard how funds to­talling €64,500 were be­ing of­fered to County Louth un­der the RAPID (Re­vi­tal­is­ing Ar­eas by Plan­ning, In­vest­ment and De­vel­op­ment) scheme.

The funds were to be di­vided equally be­tween Dun­dalk and Drogheda, where a num­ber of RAPID ar­eas had pre­vi­ously been iden­ti­fied, and were, ac­cord­ing to a no­tice from the depart­ment, in­tended to pro­vide CCTV.

In Dun­dalk, three ar­eas had been iden­ti­fied - Cox’s Demesne, Muirhev­namor, and Du­largy.

Coun­cil­lors heard that of­fi­cials had only re­ceived no­ti­fi­ca­tion of the fund­ing of­fer the pre­vi­ous day. It had been put be­fore Drogheda Mu­nic­i­pal com­mit­tee that same evening, where mem­bers had ap­proved it.

But Cllr. To­mas Sharkey out­lined his op­po­si­tion to fund­ing be­ing used for CCTV.

‘Let’s just look at how putting cam­eras up on tele­phone poles is go­ing to help kids get back to school, or peo­ple ac­cess em­ploy­ment and ser­vices.’

He crit­i­cised the plans for CCTV in these ar­eas, adding ‘It fails to ad­dress the causes of de­pri­va­tion and so­cial dis­en­gage­ment.’

He also hit out at mem­bers be­ing asked to ap­prove the scheme at the meet­ing, with­out any op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss what the funds could be used for.

Cllr. Mar­i­anne But­ler said funds were ‘ab­so­lutely pit­tance’ com­pared to what was needed to ad­dress anti so­cial be­hav­iour.

Cllr. Sharkey added that the RAPID scheme had been set up to with the aim of ben­e­fit­ting these des­ig­nated ar­eas. He de­scribed CCTV as a ‘very crude way’ of ad­dress­ing any of the is­sues, or sup­port­ing com­mu­ni­ties within these ar­eas.

Di­rec­tor of Ser­vices, Frank Pentony ex­plained that this was the first fund­ing in more than ten years which had been made avail­able un­der the RAPID scheme.

‘We don’t have a RAPID co-or­di­na­tor any­more, and we haven’t had fund­ing from cen­tral gov­ern­ment un­der this scheme the last ten years.’

Chair­man, Cllr. John McGa­hon point- ed out that the CCTV was in­tended as prevention mea­sure.

He wel­comed sug­ges­tions that mem­bers de­vise a plan for fu­ture fund­ing, if monies were made avail­able again next year.

Cllr. Maria Doyle added that she had seen nu­mer­ous ap­peals by coun­cil­lors over the last few years for CCTV to be used to tackle a range of is­sues, in­clud­ing il­le­gal dump­ing.

Mem­bers heard that a de­ci­sion had to be made soon on the of­fer of funds, as all of the money could go to Drogheda, who had al­ready ac­cepted the grant.

Cllr. Mar­i­anne But­ler pro­posed that the fund­ing be ac­cepted, and was sec­onded by Cllr.Conor Kee­lan.

But Cllr. Sharkey put for­ward a counter pro­posal ask­ing for mem­bers to have the op­por­tu­nity to meet again to dis­cuss the mat­ter.

A roll call was taken, and the mem­bers voted to hold a sep­a­rate meet­ing tom­mor­row ( Wed­nes­day) to de­bate how the funds could be spent.

Mr. Pentony ad­vised the money was des­ig­nated for cap­i­tal fund­ing projects only, and added there were time con­straints, with Novem­ber 24th be­ing the cut off point for any re­sponse. He ad­vised mem­bers to email of­fi­cials over the com­ing days with their sug­ges­tions.

Cllr To­mas Sharkey.

Cllr John McGa­hon.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.