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Question

467. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications received in 2017 and to date in 2018 for the community CCTV scheme; the number of applications received by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24428/18]

468. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications which have been granted to date for the community CCTV scheme; the number of granted applications by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24429/18]

469. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount of funding allocated to date through the community CCTV scheme; the amount of funding allocated by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24430/18]

470. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the types of community groups and organisations availing of and inquiring with regard to the community CCTV scheme; the issues which are hindering community groups and organisations from progressing their application to installation of CCTV in their communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24431/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 467 to 470, inclusive, together.
The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government commits to supporting investment in CCTV systems. In pursuance of this commitment, a new Community-based CCTV grant-aid scheme was launched by my Department in 2017 to assist groups in the establishment of community-based CCTV systems in their local areas. It is intended that the scheme will run for 3 years with funding of some €1 million being made available each year.
Under the scheme, eligible community groups can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum grant of €40,000. Upon approval, applicants receive up-front payment of 50% of the grant with the balance to be paid when the system is fully operational.
It is important to note that community CCTV is governed by section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI No 289 of 2006). This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must-
- be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,
- have the prior support of the relevant Local Authority, which must also act as data controller, and
- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.
This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of whether or not grant funding is sought from my Department to assist in their establishment.
In establishing the grant-aid scheme, the Department sought to make the process as user-friendly as possible while respecting these statutory requirements.
Both the application process and documentation were updated and streamlined as compared to the earlier scheme administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department, to make them more accessible to all groups wishing to avail of the scheme.
Further, the Department consulted broadly, including with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, An Garda Síochána, the Office of the Attorney General and the Local Government Management Agency. In that regard, I understand that the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner's Office has again confirmed that it is not querying and does not have any current concerns regarding the legislative underpinning of community CCTV systems.
Systems funded under this scheme will supplement the existing network of CCTV systems in operation in the State, namely the 35 Garda CCTV schemes in operation comprising in excess of 500 cameras; as well as the 45 Community-based CCTV schemes encompassing some 367 cameras to which An Garda Síochána have access, and which were established under the previous grant-aid scheme funded by my Department between 2005 and 2013.
11 applications have been received to date and my Department has been informed that a further 14 applications will be submitted in the near future.
4 applications under the scheme have been approved to date, with approved funding totalling almost €120,000. 3 of these approved applications are in relation to systems in County Wexford and 1 is in relation to a system in County Wicklow. A further 4 applications are under active consideration. The remaining 3 applications submitted to date have been returned to the applicants concerned to enable them to provide the information necessary to qualify for grant-aid.
My Department receives enquiries regarding the scheme from a broad spectrum of the public, including in particular local authorities, as well as residents associations, ad hoc community groups as well as private citizens.
Full details of the grant aid package are available to download from my Department's website www.justice.ie In addition, my officials are available to provide assistance and guidance to any interested party in relation to the scheme, with a dedicated email address available for that purpose - communitycctv@justice.ie
I am keen to ensure that all interested groups, in both rural and urban areas, take advantage of the availability of this grant-aid scheme and I encourage any interested groups to make contact with my Department with any queries or if they require assistance in relation to the scheme.