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Garda Camera System For Roscrea Will Cost 60,000

Thursday, 1 June 2017

A CCTV System to assist the Gardai police Roscrea will cost in the region of €60,000 to install and will initially see 12 cameras erected in the town centre.

Sgt. Bill O'Dwyer, a new full-time member of the Garda force in Roscrea, told a public meeting last week that the Gardai 'fully support' the community's campaign for a camera system and that Roscrea Garda Station is ready to accommodate and operate the system as soon as funds are in place to install it.

The public meeting, which was called by Roscrea Community Development Council (RCDC) and Roscrea Stands Up (RSU) after the community recoiled in horror at an aggravated burglary perpetrated on an elderly couple earlier this month, saw the first steps be taken towards a fundraising campaign for Garda cameras in Roscrea.

The total cost of the camera system is approximately €60,000 and €28,000 must be raised by the community, with the remaining sum covered by a grant fund available from the Department of Justice.

The subject of a CCTV camera system has been under discussion among community activists for over a year in Roscrea and at a local authority level, where a previous application made under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme was unsuccessful.

However, a new grant system is now in place and Sgt. O'Dwyer, who addressed the public meeting in the Abbey Hall last Thursday night, said the Gardai in Roscrea 'want to see the community drive the campaign and we will consult with you.'

The proposed camera system will first see 12 cameras be set up in the town centre, with plans to install 10 more on the horizon. Three large poles will be erected in the town, while the remaining cameras will be attached to buildings.

The cameras operate over a wireless network which feed back to the Garda Station over a mobile network - bypassing the need for obtrusive installation or digging holes for cabling and wiring. The cameras record footage 24-hours a day and under data protection laws the footage is wiped every 31 days, unless required as evidence following an incident.

It is proposed to install the cameras on Main Street, Castle Street, Limerick Street, Rosemary Street, Rosemary Square, the Mall and on the junctions of the N62 and N63 on the Old Dublin Road and at the traffic lights.

Sgt. O'Dwyer told the meeting the cameras will be a useful tool in allowing the Gardai to monitor several locations simultaneously and are also useful for gathering evidence of events on the streets.

'We are at a consultancy stage with this now. There is a €1-million fund available from the Department and we would expect that Roscrea would be high up on that list,' Sgt. O'Dwyer said.

'Towns can get 60% of the cost covered under the grant and the community raises the rest through fundraising or from the Council,' the Sgt. said.

'There is also a maintenance aspect and we need to be able to guarantee that the system will be maintained for four to five years after the installation - which mostly requires updating the software on the cameras,' Sgt. O'Dwyer said.

'We would see this as a great asset for Roscrea. We need to create a safe street environment with good street lighting and cameras for the protection of everyone in the town and we have evidence that criminals avoid areas with good CCTV,' Sgt. O'Dwyer said.

Sgt. O'Dwyer explained that if Roscrea's application for funding is successful, half of the grants funds are immediately released, with the remaining funds coming on stream as the project advances.

'The big outlay is the cameras and after that most of the cost involved is software. During the installation process some problems can arise with private satellite dishes, or signs obstructing the signal for the cameras - the initial setup is the most difficult part,' the Sgt. said.

'The Garda Station in Roscrea is ready to take the system and we have a room set aside ready for it. Its very important that the community has a committee and ownership of these cameras,' Sgt. O'Dwyer told the meeting.

Michael Madden pledged the support of the Roscrea Chamber of Commerce to the project and told the meeting that the Chamber has been in close contact with Sgt Mark Kelly from Roscrea.

'Roscrea has received a lot of bad press in the last few weeks and the town needs this now to safeguard the community and deter criminals,' Mr Madden said.

Deputy Jackie Cahill (FF) told the meeting that he would support the campaign to install cameras and suggested the 'first stop' should be to arrange a meeting with Matt Shortt, Director of Service for the Municipal Council covering the Roscrea area.

'Recent events highlight the need for these cameras in Roscrea and I will help to arrange that meeting happens as soon as possible,' Deputy Cahill said.

The first steps towards forming a Committee to oversee the CCTV project are currently underway and further updates are expected at the monthly meeting of Roscrea Community Development Council, planned for June 29th in the Abbey Hall.

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