Written answers

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Department of Justice and Equality

Closed-Circuit Television Systems

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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352. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in preparing legislation relevant to community-based CCTV; the likely timeline for the enactment of such legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13638/22]

Photo of Helen McEnteeHelen McEntee (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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As the Deputy will be aware, the rollout of community CCTV schemes across the country has benefitted many communities, helping people to feel safer in their local areas. It is a priority for my Department to ensure that community groups continue to be supported in their valued contributions to their local CCTV schemes whilst ensuring sufficient, proportionate oversight of data protection statutory considerations.

Since 2017, my Department has administered a grant aid scheme supporting groups wishing to establish a community-based CCTV system in their area. Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities nationwide, can apply for grant aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum total of €40,000. 

The CCTV grant scheme was extended in 2019 to cover not only new CCTV systems but to also provide funding for the extension or upgrade of existing CCTV systems which are incomplete or obsolete. Applicants may now also seek a once-off grant of up to €5,000 for minor maintenance costs. Support and assistance for those running CCTV schemes is available by contacting: fundsadmin-comm-based-cctv@justice.ie

Community-based CCTV is governed by Section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI 289 of 2006). This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme 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, and

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner. 

This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of how they are funded.  These key legal requirements have not changed since 2006.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Data Protection Commission have carried out an in-depth, independent review of community CCTV schemes.

My Department is currently working on a new Bill relating to Garda powers to use modern digital technology including body worn cameras, ANPR and CCTV.  As part of that Bill, it is intended to repeal Section 38 mentioned above and to replace it with new CCTV provisions that will address the Data Protection Commission’s concerns and ensure that CCTV legislation is fully GDPR compliant going forward. 

The General Scheme of this Garda Síochána (Digital Recording) Bill was approved by the Government and published on the 29th April 2021. The General Scheme was sent to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel for formal drafting, and drafting is continuing. It is my intention to publish the Bill by the end of April 2022 and to complete its passage through the Oireachtas later this year.


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