28 Jan 2022

One Offaly area to get new CCTV cameras early next year

One Offaly area to get new CCTV cameras early next year

Joe Parlon addressing a meeting in Coolderry Hall on crime in November 2017.

SECURITY cameras could be installed in public places around the Coolderry area as soon as the New Year, a meeting was told on Monday.

The Arthur Elliott Community CCTV, named after the late Arthur Elliott, a local campaigner for increased local security, will cover Coolderry, Kilcolman and Aghancon.

Monday's virtual meeting of the Offaly joint policing committee heard the scheme, which will involve the erection of nine cameras, is close to coming to fruition.

Approval has been granted for the location of the cameras and signage and a request has gone to the Garda Commissioner.

“Once they get the documentation back from the Garda Siochana Commissioner's office they'll be ready to proceed in the New Year to erect the cameras around the area,” said local Fianna Fail representative, Cllr Peter Ormond.

Brian Pey, an official with Offaly County Council, said the Arthur Elliott scheme also needed a data privacy impact assessment.

The Coolderry scheme is the most advanced of five similar projects being undertaken in different parts of Offaly at present.

They are all in response to several aggravated burglaries in rural parts of the county a few years ago and Cllr Neil Feighery told the policing committee meeting he was glad Operation Thor, a special garda initiative battling the crimes, had helped reduce the attacks and thefts.

The Belmont scheme has next to be submitted for planning permission, as has the Rahan scheme, where the proposed number of cameras has been increased from 10 to 12.

The Portarlington Business Association CCTV Scheme crosses the Offaly and Laois boundary with four proposed camera sites in Offaly. The locations are being finalised.

In Edenderry the Chamber of Commerce is coordinating the CCTV plan and 12 locations for cameras have been identified but have yet to be finalised.

Cllr Feighery said that overall, the project was a great initiative. “I know it's a long time coming and a lot of it was on foot of a spate of burglaries,” said the Fine Gael councillor, praising the “huge work” which had been done in all the communities, including Rahan.

His party colleague Cllr John Clendennen said the council will have to take charge of the schemes for them to be successful in the long run and he was also working with Cllr John Leahy on the legislative changes which are still needed.

“This scheme needs to be proactive, comprehensive, inclusive and led by the local authority if it's to be truly effective right across the county,” said Cllr Clendennen.

Cllr Leahy, the Independent member from Kilcormac, said he and Cllr Clendennen were not trying to “stall” the projects by seeking changes in the law but wished to strengthen the scheme.

He said the issue of the maintenance of the CCTV equipment in the long-term was one issue which needed to be looked at.

Mr Pey told the councillors: “We're looking to progress all the schemes as quickly and appropriately as possible.”

On the proposition of Cllr Feighery, seconded by Cllr Clendennen, the committee approved a proposal to move the Belmont, Rahan, Portarlington, and Edenderry schemes to the next stage.

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