Operation of Midleton CCTV In Question

By Seamus Whelehan

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Cork County Council is to appoint Consultants to assess the impact of GDPR Regulations across the County run CCTV systems in every town and village.  Council Chief Executive, Tim Lucey, made the announcement on Monday (8 April) after Cllrs raised serious concerns that high tech CCTV cameras in many areas of the County are inactive because they are currently in breach of EU data rules.

The EU Data Protection Laws changed the way in which we capture and handle CCTV footage, which means that evidence from County run CCTV systems could be challenged in Court, if the Local Authority does not comply.  The General Data Protection Regulation, implemented last May, requires Local Authorities to employ a Data Controller because Gardaí, who use the information from the CCTV systems, can no longer be the keeper of DATA.

The operation of the €100,000 CCTV scheme, monitoring Midleton town centre and its environs, is among a number of schemes under question.  The state of the art scheme designed to link 26 cameras to Midleton Garda Station is now under question, along with nine active community CCTV systems where live feeds housed are in Garda stations and controlled by the Force.   These include Macroom, Kinsale, Fermoy, Mallow, Bantry, Clonakilty, Dunmanway, Skull and Skibbereen.

Fianna Fail Cllr Frank O’Flynn told full Council on Monday (8 April) that he was advised by the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, that it was the responsibility of each Local Authority to assign a Data Controller.  He said it was a “disgrace” that Cork County Council had not made progress with its CCTV schemes which have been in limbo for the past number of years.   Sinn Fein Cllr Danielle Twomey told the Executive she was baffled that, twelve months on, a Motion she had tabled asking for the creation of a joint Data Centre with other Local Authorities, had not been acted upon.

Limerick City and County Council have employed an Independent Company to operate a monitoring station. Since its establishment in 1997 it has helped to reduce levels of anti-social behaviour in areas such as Moyross.

In 2015 the 24 hour system was extended to areas in the south of the city.   The cost of the Moyross Data centre was €2.7million with an annual running cost of up to €600,000.  The Limerick project is currently funded by Limerick City and County Council, with the remainder picked up by the Department of Social Protection.  Chief Executive Tim Lucey said Limerick City and County Councils received specific funding under the Government Regeneration Programme which was available to Cities.  He said once the County Council gain an understanding of what it means to be a data controller, the Local Authority may require financial input from other departments.  Mr Lucey said Council is working on the assumption that An Gárda Siochána is assuming the role of data controller for the nine systems through which they are currently receiving live feeds.

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