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Red light camera systems will be established in just ‘one or two’ Dublin locations

The national roll-out of the system is dependent on a far broader strategy paper being completed

Red light camera systems first piloted in 2015 to record motoring offences at junctions will be established in just “one or two” Dublin locations early next year, with a national roll-out dependent on a far broader strategy paper being completed.

A National Transport Authority (NTA) document has indicated that while a previous camera trial in the capital was successful, the operational and legal basis for a widespread system does not yet exist, and a strategy has yet to be finalised.

Last month, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the technology would initially be based in Dublin and would not incur significant costs.

“We are about to get them,” he said. “It will be later this year, or into early next year, when I would expect them to be in place.”

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However, details contained in an NTA briefing document raise questions about when the roll-out of a nationwide camera system might become feasible.

An interim installation – in advance of further, dedicated legislation – will focus on a small number of locations in Dublin and will require the agreement of An Garda Síochána. It is understood that while such support has been indicated, no formal agreement has yet been reached.

A 2015 trial in Dublin’s Blackhall Place was considered effective but that technology has since “reached the end of its useful life” and a procurement process would be required to replace it.

“It is intended to undertake these procurements later this year, with the expectation that it will be possible for one or two locations to be operational early next year,” the NTA document said. No specific locations have been agreed.

“This will represent an interim arrangement pending the development of the wider camera enforcement strategy.” That strategy, to be undertaken by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), is due sometime this year.

Such cameras are principally used to record the registration of vehicles breaking red lights but can also help identify those illegally using bus lanes.

The six-month Blackhall Place trial in 2015 led to the identification of over 800 violations. The pilot was carried out under a legal agreement between the NTA, An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice. However, a permanent, widespread system would likely require a far more robust legal basis.

Concerns have been raised that an ad-hoc approach would bring the risk of varying camera types and operators, undermining any attempt at uniform integration and enforcement.

“Tendering for equipment and services for just one or two isolated junctions would not provide a system that would be scalable contractually to cover other junctions, other areas and other offence types,” the NTA document noted. A scalable system will require appropriate planning, as intended via the forthcoming TII strategy.

“Developing a scalable system on a national basis will take some time, and will require new legislation,” a working group on the technology noted, saying interim arrangements for Dublin could be established under existing law in a small number of locations.

Susan Gray of the road safety advocacy group Parc said she was sceptical of how long such a policy might actually take to reach fruition on a nationwide basis.

“It’s not going to save any lives in the near future,” she said. “We need [safety] solutions now and one or two cameras is not going to make any difference.”

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