Will GDPR scupper Sligo councillors’ plans for CCTV?

There are fears that data protection concerns could hinder a proposal from 13 Sligo councillors for a roll-out of a pilot-scheme to upgrade CCTV cameras on certain routes throughout the county.

The motion, at this week’s meeting of the council, came in the aftermath of the horrific attack in January on 73-year old Tom Niland, who remains on life support in Sligo University Hospital.

The issue of data protection has arisen on a number of occasions following the Tom Niland attack.

Very soon after the 73-year old from Skreen was viciously beaten in his own home along the N59 road, there were concerns that investigating gardai could be hindered in their effort to retrieve information from mobile phones.

Now the issue of data protection has arisen when it comes to a proposal from Sligo councillors for the upgrading CCTV cameras on certain routes to include nighttime number-plate recognition.

Although councillors agreed at their meeting yesterday with the idea of improving CCTV so as to prevent attacks and burglaries, they were advised that there were significant implications to be addressed, including General Data Protection Regulations, commonly known as GDPR.

Councillors were also told Garda approval alone was not sufficient if it came to implementing the councillors’ proposal.

Director of Housing and Corporate Services, Jim Molloy, said the council would have to examine the current conditions under which it operates in terms of CCTV and the rules and regulations around where cameras can be used.

West Sligo Councillor Michael Clarke said the protection of people must be a priority.


Councillors agreed to keep the motion calling for the pilot scheme to upgrade cameras on the agenda, while the council got further information on its legal and other implications.

After that information is obtained, the matter is to be discussed again by the Sligo Joint Policing Committee.