Written Answers. - CCTV Systems.

Michael Ring

Question:

510 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if Westport, County Mayo, will be considered for the installation of closed circuit television; and if a grant will be sanctioned to the Westport Residents' Association to facilitate the installation of closed circuit television. [7428/01]

No application for a Garda CCTV system has been received, to date, by the advisory committee that was established by the Garda Commissioner to evaluate applications for Garda CCTV systems, in respect of Westport.

All applications for Garda CCTV systems must be prepared in co-operation with the local Garda district and divisional officers and receive their full support. 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 plus an additional amount towards civil works. This additional amount varies according to the availability of ducting, etc.

I announced last November that a total of £12 million was to be allocated towards the installation of CCTV systems nationwide over the next three years – as part of the Garda CCTV expansion programme – with £4 million being allocated in 2001. As part of the first tranche, Garda CCTV systems are to be installed in the following areas: Athlone, Bray, Clondalkin, Dundalk, Dún Laoghaire, Finglas, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Tallaght. At least a further six areas will commence in 2003 and they will be announced in due course. It is anticipated that the ten CCTV systems referred to above will be installed in the period 2001-02.

I am, however, also conscious that some applications for CCTV systems that have been received by the advisory committee relate to relatively small schemes which, while of importance to the local community, cannot be regarded as a national Garda priority. I have given careful consideration to how assistance can be provided to areas which are not rated as a high level Garda priority.

To this end, I plan to introduce a grant scheme soon to cater for those communities who would like to press ahead on their own with a local CCTV system. It will be up to the local interests to install and monitor the CCTV schemes. However, grant assistance will be provided. To qualify for grant aid, certain minimum standards will have to be met and the gardaí will have to be allowed access to the system when and as they require it. Local authorities will have an important role to play. The details of this new scheme are being finalised and full details of the scheme including relevant conditions and grant levels will be announced soon.