Hidden cameras to clamp down on graffiti in Dún Laoghaire

More than 600 complaints received in last 12 months

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is installing security cameras, some of them hidden, in an attempt to clamp down on graffiti in the area.

The council said it had received 627 complaints about graffiti in the past 12 months and despite removing 10,000 square metres of graffiti last year, it remained a significant problem.

Gardaí are working with the council on the issue and a campaign named “Operation Slogan” has been launched to try to apprehend “graffiti culprits” in the area.

"Evidence of anyone caught on cameras committing such acts will be passed on to An Garda Síochána for investigation," the council said. "The council calls on the public to be more vigilant of graffiti attacks in their area and to pass on any evidence of such acts to their local Garda station."

Two Dublin graffiti artists were last year given two-year suspended sentences and ordered to pay €1,600 to a charitable trust after causing €32,000 of damage to trams, trains and buses in the capital with their drawings.

Therese Langan, senior executive officer in Dún Laoghaire council's environment section, said 18 cameras were being installed and the council had a budget of €49,000 to deal with graffiti this year.

The Metals

A route known as The Metals, which runs between Dún Laoghaire and Dalkey, is the first area which the initiative is aiming to monitor.

Ms Langan said graffiti was becoming increasingly visible in the wider Dún Laoghaire area and the number of “graffiti attacks” on signs and walls and in public spaces was increasing.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown councillor Victor Boyhan welcomed the council's initiative, even though he was not in favour of CCTV cameras recording people's every move.

He said some of the graffiti he had seen in the area had “religious, political and sexual connotations” and was “basically vandalism”.

People Before Profit councillor Karl Gill said he believed there was a significant difference between "scribbles and scrawls" and artistic graffiti and this should be taken into account. He said it was a shame there was not a designated area for street and graffiti artists to do their work in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.

Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll is an Assistant News Editor with The Irish Times