CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Statement by Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan, T.D., regarding the Community CCTV Grant Aid Scheme
17 May 2018
That the Minister for Justice come into the Seanad to outline how his Department will address an issue of concern that has come to my attention in Fingal Co Council, where I understand applications for the Ministers Community CCTV €1 million per annum grant scheme fund, have been stalled or stopped pending clarification of concerns under the new GDPR General Data Protection Regulation due to be introduced on the 25th of May 2018. This is a local and national matter as I understand the LGMA Local Government Management Agency has issued a recommendation to all councils to stall applications to the National CCTV scheme.
- Senator James Reilly
I wish to thank the Senator for raising this important matter.
The Senator 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 April 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, which is being administered by my Department, 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.
The statutory requirements governing the establishment of Community CCTV systems generally require that the proposal 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 – this is a long-standing statutory requirement, set out in the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 289 of 2006), for the establishment of community CCTV systems generally, and
have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner in accordance with Section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.
I would emphasise that 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.
I am not aware of a recommendation from the Local Government Management Association (LGMA) such as that referred to by the Deputy and indeed the LGMA has confirmed that it has not issued an instruction to local authorities to refrain from applying to the scheme.
Indeed I would note that all applications approved for funding under the scheme to date have been made on foot of applications made by local authorities; and further that my officials continue to receive a regular flow of enquiries from interested local authorities in relation to the scheme.
I am aware that the County and City Management Association (CCMA) has raised a concern in relation to the role of the data controller in relation to CCTV. However as noted, this is a long-standing requirement set out in the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 and applies to all community CCTV schemes, regardless of how they are funded. Further, in establishment of the grant-aid scheme, the Department consulted broadly, including with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, An Garda Síochána, the Office of the Attorney General and the LGMA.
Nonetheless, my officials are available to provide assistance and guidance to any interested party in relation to the scheme and I am confident that the practical application of this legal framework can be clarified for the benefit of all concerned.
I would like to take the opportunity to confirm that some 11 applications have been received to date and I understand that the Department has been informed that a further 14 applications will be submitted this month.
4 applications under the Scheme have been approved to date, with approved funding totalling almost €120,000. A further 4 applications are under active consideration. The remaining 3 applications have been returned to the applicants concerned to enable them to provide the information necessary to qualify for grant-aid.
Schemes funded under this grant-aid scheme will supplement the existing network of CCTV Systems in operation in the State, namely the 35 Garda CCTV schemes in operation throughout the State comprising in excess of 500 cameras; as well as the 45 Community-based CCTV schemes, established under the previous grant-aid scheme, funded by my Department between 2005 and 2013, encompassing some 367 cameras to which An Garda Síochána have access.
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 are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and officials in my Department are available to provide additional guidance on the application process should that be helpful. I would encourage the Senator and other colleagues to join me in encouraging interested groups to take advantage of the availability of the scheme.