27 May 2022

Report into 'unlawful' CCTV cameras in Limerick raised with Minister for Justice

'Only those who have something to be afraid of should be afraid of CCTV' - Limerick minister

There are more than 400 council-operated CCTV cameras in Limerick

MINISTER-OF-STATE Patrick O’Donovan has raised Limerick City and County Council being fined €110,000 over its use of CCTV cameras with the Department of Justice.

As revealed in the Limerick Leader last week, the Data Protection Commission identified multiple breaches of GDPR and data protection regulations relating to its use of CCTV cameras.

Minister O’Donovan said when he read the Leader last week, "Something in me was absolutely horrified and really upset to think that our own local authority was successfully prosecuted in this way".

"The purpose of CCTV - which all of us would intend for it to be used -  is to protect our communities, to protect our loved ones and to make sure if there is wrongdoing in our community that the local authorities can successfully give that information to the An Garda Siochana and it can be used in the prevention, detection and successful prosecution of a crime.

"To think that the local authority could not use the technology in this way is really sad," said Minister O’Donovan.

He said he has sent the report in the Limerick Leader to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.

"I am also writing to the Minister of Justice about this in light of everything that has happened in the last week. I was a first class teacher, I'm a brother, I'm a son, I'm a husband, and I'm a father of two little girls. We want to make sure that our children, sons and daughters, are brought up in a society where they can exercise safely in any kind of environment on their own in the knowledge that they are going to be protected. To that end our society has to be able to use all the technological supports available."

Minister O’Donovan said he cannot understand why this set of circumstances has unfolded.

"It just means the Department of Justice has to take one step back and review it. You cannot have a situation where the guards don't have access to CCTV that has been installed at cost to the exchequer. 

"It is not what the government will allow, it is not what the government will stand for. If there is a problem with the law, we'll fix it."

From attending countless community meetings, he says they all want CCTV. 

"It is more, not less, that we need. We have to make sure that technology is part of the fight against crime into the future because we cannot have a garda at every four crossroads. They (Cameras) are not guards, but they are a deterrent.

"Ultimately what this is about is making our communities and society safer. It's in every modern democracy and it will be here too."

Minister O’Donovan concluded by saying, "Only those who have something to be afraid of should be afraid of the use of CCTV".

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