Cork County Council is about to appoint consultants who will see if it is feasible for it to take control of all monitoring of existing and new community CCTV systems in towns and villages in its jurisdiction.
Council chief executive Tim Lucey made the announcement after a number of councillors expressed anger that, despite state-of-the-art equipment being purchased for some towns, their CCTV remained inoperable because of data protection issues.
Cllr Ian Doyle raised the issue after he sought a report on progress with CCTV systems in the county and found that there was no progress on getting systems activated in Charleville and Mitchelstown, three years after equipment was purchased for them.
He said he was angry nothing had been done in either town as they were battling anti-social behaviour and thefts.
The report showed that nine community CCTV systems were in operation and provide live feeds monitored by gardaí. These are in Macroom, Kinsale, Fermoy, Mallow, Bantry, Clonakilty, Dunmanway, Schull and Skibbereen. However, since they were installed the question of who views the information and stores it has been muddied.
Cllr Frank O'Flynn said Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan had told him it was now local authorities' responsibility to view and store the data. The report showed systems are also planned for Midleton, Bandon, Banteer/Lyre and Millstreet.
Cllr O'Flynn said it was “a disgrace” the council hadn't progressed getting the systems operational adding that Limerick City and County Council had done so.
Cllr Danielle Twomey said the county council should take over all monitoring of community CCTV.
Mr Lucey said it was his understanding that it was originally suggested that the gardaí would monitor CCTV in Charleville. He pointed out Limerick City got a specific allocation from the Government to install CCTV under a city regeneration grant.
He said, at present, the council did not know if all systems currently in use were compatible with each other and how they could be networked into the county council's own computer systems.
Most importantly, he added that financing and resourcing the council's involvement in monitoring the networks would be an issue and it was likely the council would need grant-aid from the Government to do it.
Mr Lucey said he hoped to have a report ready for councillors by August or September.