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€20k CCTV system installed in area ravaged by the Drogheda feud

The CCTV system had been out of operation for more than seven years due to lack of funding.

Three women at a protest against violence in Drogheda earlier this year.
Three women at a protest against violence in Drogheda earlier this year.
Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

A LOCAL AUTHORITY has budgeted €20,000 a year for repair and maintenance of CCTV cameras in an area at the centre of the Drogheda gang feud.

The cameras are now fully operational and are intended to provide “a measure of safety and security” for residents of the Rathmullan area of the town.

The CCTV system had been out of operation for more than seven years due to lack of funding.

However, following an upsurge of gang-related activity in the town along with problems of illegal dumping and anti-social behaviour, Louth County Council applied for funding to the Department of Justice to bring the cameras back.

A garda assessment of the need for the scheme – signed by local Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan – said the area had been “blighted” by serious crime involving feuding gangs.

It said: “This area has seen shootings and activity associated with gangs involved in the drugs trade locally. The very presence of CCTV will act as a deterrent and provide evidential CCTV where crime happens.”

An application form from the local authority said the area was “prone” to anti-social behaviour and that the CCTV cameras would help curb crime in the area.

The records said that full-time monitoring of the cameras would not be feasible. Instead, a secure data recording and data storage facility would be set up where footage could be checked over for evidence of crime or anti-social activity.

The application said: “The management system will be located in a secure lockable unit to facilitate storage of the data in Louth County Council offices.

“Access to the data will be in the form of restricted user access. All users will be garda vetted.”

The upfront cost for the new system was estimated at €66,500 – made up of €16,650 for a monitoring centre, €40,000 for new CCTV equipment and materials, and €10,000 for installation.

The local authority said it had raised 40% of the funding for the scheme and was looking for support of €39,950 from the department.

In a section on annual running costs, the local authority predicted it would need €24,000 a year to keep the CCTV system operational.

This included €10,000 for repairs, €10,000 for maintenance, and smaller sums for light, heat, power, administration, and telephone.

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They said the system would be operated by local authority staff so there would be no direct salary costs.

Separate tender documents for the project say that data will be stored for exactly 28 days before being deleted and that it must be in compliance with GDPR regulations on gathering personal information.

Information solicitor Fred Logue – who obtained the records – said the application was a good example of a public body demonstrating why such measures were needed.

He said: “The local authority conducted a Data Protection Impact Assessment and clearly has taken data protection on board in relation to the necessity for the system”

A statement from the council said: “[We] consider the community-based CCTV schemes will provide a measure of safety and security to local residents and assist the Council with its investigations into fly-tipping, littering and anti-social behaviour.

“An Garda Síochána anticipate the community-based CCTV scheme would help to act as a deterrent to crime and enhance public safety.”

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About the author:

Ken Foxe  / Journalist lecturer and freelance reporter

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