Writes Ciaran Dineen
A call has been made on Cork County Council by Councillor Jack White (FG), to help facilitate the installation of CCTV cameras in the Owenabue carpark, particularly in the area around the parklet, Carrigaline. The request was made at the final meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD) for 2021.
In his very first motion at the MD following his co-option onto the Council, following the departure of former councillor, Liam O’Connor, Cllr White again raised an issue that has long been discussed both between elected members as well as local residents. Over the last two-three years, the number of anti-social behaviour incidents seems to have increased in Carrigaline.
The Owenabue Carpark and the hugely successful parklet, which recently underwent an extension due to its popularity, has become the new target for anti-social behaviour at night and in the last couple of weeks parts of the furniture and infrastructure has been vandalised and damaged, much to the frustration in particular of the local Tidy Towns group.
In his motion, Cllr White noted that he was aware of the issues involved with being able to establish CCTV, as there are GDPR regulations which make it a difficult operation to get going. However, he said, “the motion comes from a place of frustration and anger, especially from a Carrigaline Tidy Towns point of view, who maintain the upkeep of Carrigaline.
“Time and time again there have been incidents of vandalism and criminal damage to some of the infrastructure in the parklet and I think it needs to be a priority for us as elected members to keep the question of CCTV on the agenda. The parklet has been one of the standout additions to Carrigaline in recent years and it is really frustrating to see it being vandalised.”
Cllr White received support from all other Councillors, including Cllr Seámus McGrath (FF), who asked for a report on the state of play regarding community-based CCTV in June of this year, but his request never materialised. Calls for the crime-preventative measure have been made for some time with regards to Carrigaline, dating back to when the local electoral area was in the Ballincollig-Carrigaline district. The act of “mindless vandalism” is “soul-destroying” for volunteers in the town according to Cllr McGrath, who also acknowledged remarks made by Cllr White, who noted that CCTV was needed alongside increased garda presence in Carrigaline.
Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind) added that the MD should engage with the Duleek and District ‘Text Alert’, based in County Meath, who have successfully managed to install community CCTV and are a good case to analyse as an example, with crime rates reduced according to the Councillor.
Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF) made her frustrations clear over anti-social behaviour that takes place in Crosshaven, particularly during the summer months. “It’s devastating to see the hard work the community volunteers are doing only for vandals to come in and make a mess that they then go out and clean the next day again……but the CCTV has to be monitored and the people who are doing the damage are being fined, or else there’s no accountability.”
Cllr Michael Paul Murtagh (FG) offered his support in principle, but made his own feelings clear that he is not a major fan of CCTV and instead favours the bobbies on the beat approach, suggesting that there is nothing that can replace numbers on the ground that help crime prevention.
It was agreed that the MD would write to the Duleek and District Association, while Cllr White also asked if the district could have a conversation with the Council’s Area office and Gardaí in terms of where things stand in Carrigaline if funding was to become available for CCTV infrastructure, and whether they were effectively “ready to go” with an application or plan to put forward.