By Peter O’Connell
THE co-founder of the company which has put an audio warning system in place in Kilkee and Lahinch, advising people not to let their dogs foul the path, says that footage from the devices will not be used to prosecute people.
Aidan McDermott of Riteview, a Kildare based company which offers environmental enforcement and monitoring solutions to organisations across Ireland, says that the system will in fact save Clare County Council money.
“We do have some footage but the intent of the footage is not to carry out prosecutions. It’s not to identify people and say ‘we’ve got somebody, lets try and prosecute them.’ The saving for the local authority is on the clean up costs and the frequency of clean ups. The intent is that they may make some savings in that area,” he explained.
“Our whole focus was to look at low cost solutions when we set up the company. The whole thrust was could we develop solutions that were affordable? This is a solution that is affordable and very effective. In terms of cost the local authority would pay a fraction of what they would pay for CCTV. It’s about one sixth of the price. It’s significantly cheaper as a technology,” Mr McDermott added.
The company carried out some investigative work in both resorts before deciding where to erect the devices.
“One of the things we do as part of this is we monitor an area and we measure the number of dog walkers per hour over a period of a week. Then we know the patterns for the dog walkers and we know the peak times,” he explained.
The devices in Kilkee and Lahinch can be moved to alternative locations in either town or indeed to somewhere else in Clare.
“That would be the intent. They are not a permanent fixture. They could operate in the one setting for two months and then they move to a different location. It’s an audio system and when people walk past, it triggers a message. The message is custom made for whatever the local authority wants. The idea is to generate awareness and to make it more socially unacceptable for people to turn a blind eye if their dog is fouling on the pathway or on an area where children are playing. Dog fouling is a pretty big issue in both areas and they are both tourist areas. They get a lot of traffic and a lot of people and children on the beach. The alternative is to go down the road of prosecutions which the local authority doesn’t want to do,” Mr McDermott revealed.
He says that the audio does not operate all night and that it is very likely that instances of dog fouling in Kilkee and Lahinch will decrease.
“In other areas we’ve seen an over 90% reduction in dog fouling. Anywhere between 60% and 90% is the expected reduction we see in dog fouling. They have made significant differences in areas they have gone in. We power it off at 9pm. I think that’s important for locals to know. It’s not going to be going off at night time. The volume is adjustable. We’re relatively low on volume. We only want the people in the immediate vicinity to hear it. Somebody sunbathing on the beach won’t hear it,” the Riteview co-founder explained.