CCTV FOR MONAGHAN TOWN – PANACEA OR ORWELLIAN NIGHTMARE?

19 May 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

PETER HUGHES

A debate on whether the introduction of a CCTV surveillance system in the centre of Monaghan Town would be an effective tool in the combating of crime and anti-social behaviour, or would be something that would “let the Gardaí off the hook” and evoke the totalitarian nightmare of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, took place at Monday’s meeting of Monaghan Municipal District.
While Sinn Féin councillor Sean Conlon proposed that the MD liaise with the Dept of Justice with regarding to funding for such a scheme, he emphasised that “a delicate balance” needed to be struck between the use of CCTV and the presence of Gardaí on the streets, and that an over-reliance on surveillance cameras would be “a flawed approach”.
Criticism at a recent Co Monaghan Joint Policing Committee of the former Monaghan Town Council for not availing of CCTV funding in the past was alluded to at the meeting by SF’s Brian McKenna – and echoed by Independent Seamus Treanor, who argued strongly for the introduction of such a system in the town, claiming that it would have stemmed recent anti-social behaviour and vandalism incidents.
The discussion was precipitated by a letter of acknowledgement from the Dept of Justice and Equality in relation to a previous enquiry from the Municipal District about CCTV funding.
Referring to the correspondence, Sinn Féin’s Brian McKenna said that at the last meeting of the Co Monaghan Joint Policing Committee, the issue of the vandalism and public disorder occurring in Monaghan Town’s Dublin Street in recent months was discussed.
There was quite a lot of criticism at the meeting of the old Monaghan Town Council in relation to the lack of provision of CCTV in the town. He personally would not be the greatest advocate of CCTV but a Garda Superintendent made a fairly robust slight at Monaghan Town Council because of their failure to provide CCTV to assist the Gardaí in identifying people involved in anti-social behaviour. The likes of Castleblayney Town Council were complimented on the work they had done in this regard.
Colr McKenna said he had not been a Town Council member so he could not respond to the comments and there was no representative …
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