Embattled Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is under pressure again this week, this time over her department’s handling of how funding for community based CCTV systems is managed.
Under present regulations, community groups are required to set aside up to 40 per cent of the costs associated with CCTV provision when seeking state assistance for the erection of cameras in estates.
Addressing the protocols at Longford County Council’s monthly meeting, Cllr Gerry Warnock said the scheme needed to revert back to a local authority partnered model.
“I am not a fan of this community based system that has been foisted upon us,” he said in no uncertain terms.
“I honestly believe it’s a way of bypassing the democratically elected members and a way to make it easier for these guys that are adjudicating on these grants to say no.
“These CCTV cameras are €12,000 a pop and part of the conditions of this funding is that these community groups have to match that funding by 40 per cent.
“I have community groups and residents associations ringing me periodically looking for grants to help maintain green areas or grass in estates to the tune of a few hundred quid in some cases.
“Where in the name of God are these groups going to be able to get their hands on five to €6,000 in match funding to put a CCTV in their estate?”
Cllr Warnock was joined in his criticism of the scheme by Cllrs Peggy Nolan and Seamus Butler, both of whom cited the long running delay which residents at Longford town estate, Oakvale, had encountered in attempting to secure CCTV cameras.