ANGRY community alert groups across Laois are joining forces in a bid to break the deadlock on installing crime-fighting CCTV cameras.
Frustrated groups that have collected tens of thousands of euros want to know why cameras are still gathering dust, almost two years after the government launched a grant scheme for rural CCTV.
Groups from throughout the county will gather at the Woodenbridge Community Alert AGM on Wednesday 12 December, when they will demand an end to the stalemate that has stopped cameras operating in crime-stricken rural areas.
Woodenbridge Community Alert chairman Michael G Phelan says groups all over Laois are extremely frustrated at the delay. He said: “We are all meeting people on the street who are asking what we have done with the money. Our group alone has collected over €5,000 and we have a commitment for more from businesses in the area, once the CCTV system is up and running. All it needs is for the issue of data controller to be sorted out and there is frustration from all sides that it is taking so long.”
In a separate move, Laois’s three TDS – including justice minister Charlie Flanagan – are seeking an urgent meeting with local government minister Eoghan Murphy in a bid to break the CCTV deadlock.
As the stalemate continues, Laois-Offaly Garda Chief Superintendent John Scanlan has strongly rejected a claim by deputy Brian Stanley that the CCTV system is stalled due to “a game of ping-pong” between local authorities and the department of justice.
At the latest Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting in Portlaoise, the chief superintendent declared: “There is no ping-pong, certainly not at local level.