Gardaí are investigating incidents of a female photographer taking pictures of children playing outside their houses in the past week without the permission of parents.
The woman, described as a foreign national, was observed in a housing estate in Kenagh on Wednesday last week (August 3) taking photographs of young children playing. A similar incident is also believed to have taken place in Ballymahon.
Speaking to the Leader, concerned parent Helen Kennedy said when she approached the woman in the blue Ford Fiesta, the woman drove off claiming to have no English.
“On Wednesday (Aug 3) at about quarter to two, the kids were out playing as they normally are,” Ms Kennedy told the Leader. “I was out watching them and I came in to make a cup of tea. When I came out, three of the kids came running across to say that a lady had taken pictures of them.
“They pointed to a car which had come down past me to turn; so I stopped her and asked her why she was taking pictures of the kids. She said, ‘I don’t speak very good English’. I told her that she wasn’t allowed to take pictures of anyone or any of the kids. She just drove off then,” said Ms Kennedy.
She added that later that evening they went back over their own CCTV footage which had captured the incident.
“She (the photographer) was watching the kids for a good three or four minutes. She parked the car up at the top of the estate where it wouldn’t be seen and then got out and walked down to the kids and took pictures. She had one of the long-lens cameras.”
Ms Kennedy added, “You can see on the camera (CCTV) when she comes down past our house to turn, she was hiding the camera in the passenger seat; she actually pushed it down on to the floor so that it couldn’t be seen.”
As soon as the car drove off, Ms Kennedy contacted the gardai, who have since been out to Kenagh to view the CCTV footage.
In a further development, Ms Kennedy said there was a similar incident in Ballymahon. “I put a notice up on Facebook just for people to be aware and another girl that my girls go to school with in Ballymahon said that she saw her (the photographer) in her estate on Wednesday afternoon taking pictures.”
Gardai in Longford are investigating the incident and anyone with information or who may have seen the same woman in their area, is asked to contact them at: 043-3350570.