Written Answers. - Closed Circuit Television Systems.

Enda Kenny

Question:

164 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received an application in respect of Garda assistance for monitoring a closed circuit television system for Main Street and other areas in Castlebar, County Mayo; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that moneys have been collected from the entire community to provide this system; if he has considered this application; if he supports the proposal; if he will provide the gardaí with the necessary facilities to monitor the operation of the system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22328/98]

The advisory committee that was established by the Garda Commissioner to examine CCTV systems as an aid to policing and to evaluate each application has received 26 applications for the installation of Garda CCTV systems, including an application from Castlebar. Six locations have been prioritised for the installation of Garda CCTV systems as an aid to policing. They are as follows: Bray, Cork, Dublin south central, Dundalk, Finglas and Limerick.

The remaining applications, including Castlebar, are still under consideration by the committee and it is anticipated that further systems will be scheduled in due course as resources permit. Each of the applications will be prioritised with regard to the respective levels of crime in the locations in question and the likely impact of a Garda CCTV system on same. The commitment to existing schemes, as well as those prioritised by the advisory committee, limits the scope for the extension of Garda CCTV systems to other areas at present.

Funding for Garda CCTV systems is normally provided jointly by local community interests and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. It has been the experience of the Garda authorities that the cost of an efficient and effective CCTV system is, on average, £20,000 to £25,000 per camera. I understand the Castlebar Chamber of Commerce has given some indication that local interests would be willing to fund the capital cost of the entire system, although I have no information as to whether the necessary funds have been collected.

I have asked the Garda authorities for an assessment of the operational, maintenance and other implications of proceeding with such a system.