‘Urgent rethink needed’ as only 4% of CCTV scheme funding used

It’s time for Minister Flanagan and the Department of Justice to consider amendments to the scheme introduced to help local communities install CCTV systems as a crime prevention measure.

This is the view of Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) Rural Development chairperson Seamus Sherlock.

Commenting on the matter, Sherlock said: “Funding was allocated but the take-up has been miniscule. We cannot allow the funding to go unused because of an overly arduous application process.

“Recent figures released by the Department of Justice indicate that only 4% of the €3 million CCTV funding available has been spent.

Reaching the halfway point in the scheme and with only €120,000 spent indicates a problem somewhere.

“An urgent review needs to be carried out at this stage to see how local communities can be further assisted with utilising the scheme. Of particular importance is clarification as to whether the Gardai or local authorities are responsible managing the footage collected,” the chairman added.

Sherlock was speaking at a ceremony in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) to mark the official handing over of the Agricultural Crime in Ireland reports to the Luke Wadding library.

The reports were compiled by Dr. Kathleen Moore Walsh, a lecturer in Law and Criminology, and Louise Walsh, a lecturer in Accounting and Finance, following the ICSA/WIT Agricultural Crime Survey.

L-R: Seamus Sherlock; president of WIT Prof. Willie Donnelly; Louise Walsh; and Dr. Kathleen Moore Walsh

The study examined crimes that occur solely on farms or relating to farming activities.

The significant findings of each of the three reports are as follows:

Report 1 provided data on the incidence of agricultural crime in Ireland and found that two thirds of farmers have experienced crime relating to their farming enterprise;

Report 2 provided data on financial costs experienced by farmers arising from agricultural crime and indicated an average cost of €4,328 per respondent with experience of an incident(s) of agricultural crime.

Many farmers were reluctant to report thefts due to the risk of rising insurance premiums. On average farmers were willing to take a financial hit of €1,771 rather than report the incident;

Report 3 provided data on agricultural crime reporting to Gardaí and indicated that 45% of such crimes go unreported.

Concluding Sherlock said: “The nature and scale of agriculture-specific crime has been well and truly established with this survey and subsequent reports.

Rural people want more resources in community policing, stiffer sentences for repeat offenders and closer consultation between rural stakeholders, local authorities and An Garda Siochana.