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EDITORIAL: Scenes like those in Dublin are not inevitable in Tipperary despite ‘tensions’

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There is not a month that goes by at a Tipperary County Council meeting where the fraught issue of CCTV is not raised.
Councillors get frustrated and the whole debate usually ends with, “but who is going to pay for it?”

So, naturally, CCTV was in the spotlight at this week’s annual council budget meeting and more so because of the need to progress such schemes to prevent riots like those in Dublin last week.

Cllr Noel Coonan led the charge saying that there are “tensions” in communities around the county and CCTV could help in the event of escalation.

He said the gardaí need the CCTV to assist with policing.

Cllr David Dunne was quick to point out that the rioters in Dublin city centre were wearing balaclavas, and so CCTV may be of limited use for identification purposes.

Director of Services for Economic, Community and Rural Development Brian Beck said that CCTV was not a replacement for policing. And the Department of Justice is not paying for it anyway.

There has been much criticism of the Garda Commissioner’s approach to policing far-right protests this year, and we won’t rehash them here.

But he did say something interesting when responding to last week’s events.

Commissioner Drew Harris said: “There is no failure here. This is regrettably, how protests have moved on, and now we have to graduate and have a proportionate response to that.”

That statement is disproportionate.

Riots are riots, and protests are protests.

Ireland has an excellent record for peaceful demonstration.

We attend demonstrations around the Premier County all the time and can tell you, gardaí don’t even attend many of them because there is simply no need.

Nobody pointed out the real issue. You cannot combat ideology with either brute force or a laissez-faire attitude.

Even if there was CCTV in every city, village and town, it would only help after the fact.

Whether you consider these “tensions” as legitimate concerns or pure bigotry, they still have to be dealt with. Preferably, before someone else gets hurt.

A collaborative, community-based approach, extra resources and good leadership are required.

You don’t need CCTV to see that.

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