275. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the 20 community-based CCTV schemes that have been approved for funding; the location of each scheme; if funding has been drawn down in each case; if each scheme is operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25548/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access fall into two distinct but complementary categories, namely Garda CCTV systems and community-based CCTV systems.
Community CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI No 289 of 2006). This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must:
- be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,
- have the prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also undertake to act as data controller, and
- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.
This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes and these key legal requirements have not changed since 2006.
20 applications have been approved to date under the scheme, involving approval for grants totalling more than €500,000. The location of these approved funding applications, as requested by the Deputy, are as follows:
- Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim
- Cranmore, Co Sligo
- Arklow, Co Wicklow
- Courttown/Riverchapel, Gorey and Wexford Town, Co Wexford
- Abbeyfeale, Adare, Askeaton, Caherconlish, Cappamore, Castleconnell, Croom, Foynes, Kilmallock, Newcastlewest, Pallasgreen, Patrickswell, Murroe and Rathkeale, County Limerick.
Drawdown of funding is arranged for in the following way: First, successful applicants receive confirmation they have been approved for a grant under the scheme and confirmation of the amount of the grant. 50% of the grant amount is released at this stage, on signature by the successful applicant of the grant agreement. This allows successful applicants to proceed with the installation of the system, secure in the knowledge that the grant has been approved and with the availability at that stage of 50% of the grant. All such payments are made via the relevant Local Authority.
The balance of the grant is released and transferred when the successful applicant provides the Department with information (confirmed by An Garda Síochána) that the CCTV system is fully operational.
I would recall in that regard that my Department administers the CCTV grant aid scheme but is not responsible for oversight of the operation of CCTV schemes more generally. The practical operation of such schemes is a matter for the relevant applicants; with responsibility for data protection resting with the relevant local authority as data controller. This is without prejudice to the wider arrangements and structures provided for by law, for example in terms of role of the Data Protection Commission with regard to compliance of data controllers with data protection law and supervision by An Garda Síochána in relation to any conditions of authorisation of CCTV under section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act.
The grant aid scheme remains open for applications in 2019. I am keen to ensure that all interested groups, in both rural and urban areas, have the opportunity to take advantage of the availability of the grant aid scheme. Further details are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address, email@example.com.