LIMERICK Fine Gael TD and Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan strenuously objected to the Data Protection Commission imposing a €110,000 fine and ordering Limerick City and County Council to turn off more than 350 CCTV cameras which it had installed illegally.
Following a three-year investigation, the Commission found that the council had breached GDPR in 50 instances by installing hundreds of cameras with no lawful basis over the previous 15 years, which investigating officer Tony Delaney described as “quite shocking”.
Minister O’Donovan reacted to the decision by stating that “only those who have something to be afraid of should be afraid of the use of CCTV”.
The Limerick politician’s views were outlined in correspondence to Justice Minister Helen McEntee in which he told her that there should be absolute clarity that Limerick City and County Council be allowed to share CCTV footage with the Gardaí.
He added that he would “obviously like to see the CCTV programme widened and enhanced, but to be done in a manner where we have absolute clarity that the council is free and within their rights to hand over any and all footage to investigating personnel.
“This is, after all, the reason and rationale for which I and the people I represent want these cameras and the substantial investment they represent”.
He asked to be kept informed of “any amendments or changes to the statutory basis in which the CCTV programme is based”.
In response later that week, Ms McEntee said that CCTV was a useful deterrent to crime, and an important investigative tool for An Garda Siochána.
“The new Garda Síochána (Digital Recording) Bill, due for publication this year, will provide a new legal basis for the administration of community CCTV schemes by local authorities and An Garda Síochána,” she added.