Cllr Joe Flaherty has repeated calls for a town wide CCTV system for Longford after vandals targeted several parking meetings this week. A gang used a drill to break the locking mechanism on up to eight machines and stole the coins.

The gang targeted meters that weren’t visible on any of the existing camera and says Cllr Flaherty: “Its an especially mindless theft because the proceeds will have been small. Perhaps no more than a couple of hundred euro but it will take at least €500 to replace each of the locking mechanisms so a total cost to the Council of €4k approximately.”

The angry Councillor said its another instance of the mindless and low level crime that could be policed if an effective CCTV system was operational in the town. Added Cllr Flaherty: “The approval is in place for the extension to the Garda station in the town and I know local Garda management, my Council colleagues and Council officials have been pushing hard for an upgraded CCTV system. The process is moving far too slowly and a memorandum that deals with data protection issues was finally signed off by Garda HQ in July.

“We are seeing early benefits of good CCTV coverage and the planned €2m extension for the local station includes a dedicated command centre. This gives local Gardai the opportunity to monitor a suite of cameras and hone in, in the most effective manner possible, on these low level crimes and anti social behaviour.”

The Councillor is adamant that a state of the art CCTV then enables the Gardai to focus resources and time on major crimes. He said: “It is effective policing and a ‘win-win’ situation for the Gardai but also the community and business owners.”