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Question

498. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the Policing Authority has not yet issued guidelines on CCTV schemes in accordance with section 31(d) of the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015; when the Policing Authority will issue these guidelines; if he issued guidelines prior to the 2015 Act as per section 38(11)(a) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24932/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access, such as town centres, fall into two distinct but complementary categories, namely Garda CCTV systems and community-based CCTV systems. Neither type of CCTV system may be established without authorisation by the Garda Commissioner under section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, among other requirements.
Garda CCTV systems are planned and implemented on the basis of An Garda Síochána's identified operational needs and priorities. Accordingly, decisions in relation to the introduction or extension of such systems are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no role in that regard.
Under the grant-aid scheme launched by my Department last year to assist groups in the establishment of community-based CCTV systems in their local areas, eligible 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.
I am very anxious to ensure that all interested groups, in both rural and urban areas, take advantage of the availability of this grant aid scheme. Full details of the grant aid package including guidelines, application forms, code of practice and other relevant documentation are all available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie. Support and guidance is available to help interested groups to apply for this funding through a dedicated email address available for this purpose - communitycctv@justice.ie. In addition, the criteria for the installation and operation by authorised persons of the CCTV system in specified areas has been established.
As the Deputy is aware, the Policing Authority, under section 38(11) of the An Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, is required to issue guidelines to the Garda Commissioner concerning the supervision and control by the Commissioner of the monitoring of CCTV by authorised persons. I can confirm to the Deputy that while the Authority has not issued guidelines under section 38(11) as yet, my Department is engaging with the Authority on the issue.
As mentioned above my Department has issued a Code of Practice For Community based CCTV systems which is available from our website at www.justice.ie. This provides guidance to local authority groups and informs them of their legal and data protection obligations.