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Council says CCTV cameras at Brackloon ‘unauthorised’



Áine Ryan

MAYO County Council’s enforcement department has confirmed that CCTV cameras erected at the entrance to Brackloon Woods are deemed as an unauthorised development, The Mayo News can confirm. The local authority will now take proceedings against the person or persons who installed the cameras on a property adjacent to the popular wooded walkway’s entrance off the Leenane Road, according to Fine Gael councillor, Peter Flynn.
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday (Monday), he said he had made a complaint to the county council and An Garda Síochána about the cameras and while the council has responded  the latter hasn’t to date.  
The cameras have been placed on 20-foot-high poles monitoring the entrance and part of the pathway of the five-kilometre loop walk through the ancient woodland.
“I have no difficulty with people putting up cameras on their own property but when the camera is set in the direction of a public place, it is not acceptable. While I hate the impact of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) theses cameras certainly take away walkers’ rights to enjoy this popular public area,” Cllr Flynn said.
Continuing, he observed: “While I have a certain understanding about the camera that zooms onto the public road and the entrance to the person’s property because of the possibility of cars blocking the entrance to it, the camera at the rear of the property is totally unacceptable.”
Mr Flynn confirmed he had been in contact with Coillte also and they have agreed to meet council executives and himself regarding regularising road markings at this entrance to the historic woods.   
He also praised members of the public who had campaigned to have the access to the woods restored ‘when the council and Coillte were found wanting’.
“I urge everyone to continue to use the lovely walkway and amenity area and not give in to this sort of intimidation caused by these cameras. However, if going there by car, please ensure you park in an area which does not cause any safety issues for local road users.”

Did you know?
Brackloon Wood has native oak trees that are circa 200 years old. It was once part of the Westport House Estate and was acquired by the Land Commission in the 1940s. Species of trees in the 74-hectare woodland include sessile oak, ash, elm, hazel, birch, mountain ash, holly and willow. The woodland has been designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Natural Heritage Area (pNHAP).