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GDPR issues raise frustration as council struggles to prosecute illegal dumpers

Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick says the data protection laws have already caused other County Councils to disable their CCTV cameras entirely

National GDPR legislation could be helping local litterbugs go unpunished, according to a Kilkenny councillor.

Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick raised the issue at this week’s meeting of Castlecomer District, which discussed the Draft Litter Management Plan for the county.

He claims that GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is hindering the Council in using CCTV evidence to prosecute illegal dumpers.

The Fianna Fáil cllr is calling for the national legislation to be changed to address this loophole.

“CCTV is very good and can be used very effectively and efficiently, but I think the CCTV legislation may be a little bit behind GDPR” he’s told KCLR News. “So the GDPR has to be amended to ensure that we can use CCTV [to prosecute]. I know both Waterford and Kerry County Council have had to take remedial action, and I don’t want to see that happening with us in Kilkenny.”

Cllr Fitzpatrick says the issue needs to be resolved urgently, as the CCTV footage that now can’t be used was the only real deterrent to illegal dumping.

“In other counties they’ve turned off their CCTV cameras, and I don’t want that to happen here” he explains. “I want our national legislators to ensure the Dáil passes the necessary legislation, as quickly as possible, to ensure that CCTV footage can be used, because it’s the one deterrent that we have”

He says something needs to be done urgently, as illegal dumping is only rising in occurrence locally.

“The epidemic of littering is right across all areas of Kilkenny county…Each one of us, as public representatives, every day are getting calls about littering or indiscriminate dumping. Indeed, in my own area of Ballyfoyle only recently, we’ve just had a huge lot of indiscriminate dumping where the environmental officer and his team had to come out and wade through it to try and see was there any way of prosecuting.”