Leitrim CCTV detects criminals just 15 minutes after being activated
Minister launches Carrick-on-Shannon system with help of bereaved family
Andrew Dolan’s funeral in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, in 2011. Photograph: Brian Farrell
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has commended a man who spearheaded the drive for a €150,000 community CCTV system in his hometown, some years after the death of his son in an unprovoked street assault.
Mr Flanagan was speaking in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, where he formally launched the “state-of-the-art system” which, according to a local Garda superintendent, played a role in detecting criminals just 15 minutes after being activated.
The Carrick-on-Shannon system became operational on May 29th following a two-year campaign by a committee led by local hotelier Joe Dolan, whose 20-year-old son Andrew died after an unprovoked assault in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, in December 2011.
Mr Flanagan said Mr Dolan and his wife, Rosie, who featured in the anti-violence campaign Use Your Brain, Not Your Fists, had been crucial in bringing the community together to get the CCTV system installed.
He said he agreed with local Garda superintendent Kevin English that the system would save lives.
Addressing the Dolan family, Mr Flanagan said: “You are well aware of the role it can play. Every parent will understand to what extent you would never have wanted to find out how crucial it could be, but you did, sadly, when your son was killed in that unprovoked attack, and CCTV played a major role in the convictions of those responsible.”
The Minister said the CCTV footage at the time could not bring Andrew Dolan back, “but at least it played some role in delivering justice”.
He said such CCTV systems made communities safer. “It makes our families, friends and neighbours feel more secure. It gives us all confidence as we go about our daily lives in our local communities”.
Mr Dolan stressed that the data protection responsibility was borne by Leitrim County Council, while gardaí would be able to review footage. “We are only data users,” said Supt English.
He said there were strict guidelines and gardaí were not permitted to print off or reproduce images from the CCTV. “That is very important that we respect and protect the privacy of any individual whom we capture.”
He said any application for CCTV footage needed a recorded crime number allocated to it.
Referring to the “vibrant night-time economy” in the town, he said people would be able to come and enjoy their weekends in a very safe environment.
He said the system had already achieved tangible results when just 15 minutes after it went live, three Dublin-based criminals who had earlier committed two burglaries in Manorhamilton and two more in Sligo were detected when they crashed a car in Carrick-on-Shannon. CCTV cameras had led to a positive identification of the culprits .
The Garda superintendent said in June a woman who committed 11 credit card offences in Carrick-on-Shannon was identified in less than an hour after the CCTV footage was examined. “Within one month that was dealt with in the local court,” he added.