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No gardai to watch CCTV on suburbs

More than 20 CCTV cameras in a Dublin suburb are useless because there are not enough gardai to monitor them.

The community surveillance scheme in West Tallaght was agreed by South Dublin County Council in 2008. The cameras were installed -- but no one is using them.

Budget cuts have created a staffing delay for the gardai.

The scheme is not fully operational as estates such as Jobstown, Fettercairn and Brookfield have not had their cameras erected.

The cameras were installed with funding from the Department of Justice's RAPID programme.

Joe O'Reilly, a Jobstown resident, has asked the council to allow community groups and volunteers to assist the gardai in monitoring the cameras.

Although there has been criticism with the time it has taken to get the scheme up and running, Inspector Gary Delmar of Tallaght Garda Station has said the system will be up and running by the end of January.

Protection

"We are still working on getting it all set up but we are hoping to have it ready to go by the end of the month," he said.

"Gardai are going to monitor the cameras and we are just going through the footage and trying to get it downloaded and transferred as quick as possible.

"There are some minor issues to be ironed out but we are nearly ready to go."

Local Labour councillor Marie Corr said that when the scheme was drawn up it was meant to create employment but issues arose with data protection.

"Originally the plan was to develop a social economy and employment out of it but there was an issue with data protection," Cllr Corr said. "They are allegedly operational now but only in a fixed position and only store recorded footage for 30 days so they are not much use.

"The council were adamant that they would provide data protection but the gardai came in and then said they did not have the manpower to monitor the cameras."

hnews@herald.ie