Red light camera in Dublin to be turned back on ahead of wider roll-out of camera enforcement

Dublin’s only red light camera which previously was used for enforcement is to be turned back on ahead of wider deployment of camera enforcement, the Department of Transport has confirmed.

The offence of running red lights carries a fine of €80 and 3 penalty points. If a fine isn’t paid in time, it increases to €120 and if that isn’t paid the number of points increases to 5 points in Court on conviction.

IrishCycle.com reported last March how Dublin’s — and Ireland’s — only two red light cameras were left idle for seven years. It’s likely to be closer to eight years by the time just one of them is to be used again for enforcement.

The traffic light camera at Blackhall Place and Benburb Street in Dublin, which faces towards a junction, which the red Luas line crosses, is to be brought back into use. It was previously used to fine motorists as part of a trial of the tech but little progress has happened since.

The location along the Luas route was chosen because motorists keep running into trams and blocking junctions at this and similar junctions. At Queen Street, where there is also an issue of motorists hitting trams, a camera mount was installed but a camera has yet to be installed at this location.


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The Department of Transport did not respond ahead of this article being published as to whether another red light camera at Con Colbert Road, another red light running hot spot. It was installed at the same time using the same camera as Blackhall Place.

IrishCycle.com contacted the Department looking for an update on red light cameras because local residents who cross the junction of the Con Colbert Road and South Circular Road have complained that motorists are endangering them.

The junction of the South Circular Road and Con Colbert Road — which leads to the Chapelizod Bypass and is part of the former N4 route — is between the areas of Kilmainham and Islandbridge.

IrishCycle.com also asked the Department if the focus on the wider issue of cycle lane and bus lane camera enforcement has distracted from getting red light cameras back up and running.

A spokesperson for the Department said: “Between 2015 to 2016, a pilot was successfully carried out at the intersection of Blackhall Place and Benburb Street in Dublin, on the red Luas line, under an agreement between the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the Garda Síochána.”

“Following the completion of the pilot, a review of the overall system was undertaken, and in 2019, An Garda Síochána confirmed acceptance of the review recommendations and that the pilot installation could be confirmed as permanent. However, it was necessary to retender the technical and operational parts of the project, as the original installation was a pilot project only,” said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson said that under procurement legislation, the larger permanent operation requires a new, publicly advertised tender process.

The Department spokesperson added: “The Department has been informed that the NTA intends to develop the system design and technical specifications for the Blackhall Place site shortly. While the Blackhall Place site is not currently operational, it is expected to be reactivated following the appointment of a specialist service provider.”

“Reluctance… to take responsibility for operation and monitoring”

In one of this website’s articles on red light cameras last year, it was reported how emails showed that officials in the Department of Transport were questioning the delayed rollout of the cameras.

Writing, while referring to another official in the Department, an official wrote: “They receive [parliamentary questions] regularly about the need for more cameras, and also Dublin City Council are crying out for them. [Another official] has advised for some unknown reason this has been sitting with the NTA for the last 2 years and it is holding up the whole process, and they are not sure why the NTA are involved.”

It is understood that the NTA is involved because the use of existing cameras and roll-out of red light cameras has been bundled into the issue of wider camera enforcement including where motorists are driving in or blocking bus lanes, cycle tracks or footpaths. This is seen as key to the success of BusConnects, especially relating to bus gates.

A Dublin City Council response to Cllr Cieran Perry (independent) requesting the use of red light cameras to be inserted into the City’s Development Plan said there was a reluctance to take responsibility. In the official response, a council official wrote: “The roll out of traffic cameras has paused due to a reluctance of either An Garda Síochána or Dublin City Council to take responsibility for operation and monitoring.”

The issue of the red light cameras being out of action has been raised in the Dail by Dublin-based TD Neasa Hourigan (Green Party) a number of times, and Galway-TD Ciarán Cannon (Fine Gael) last September at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport.

Wider use of camera-enforcement

When Deputy Cannon asked last year about the cameras being inactive, Superintendent Thomas Murphy of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, referred back to the pilot scheme of the cameras and the wider use of camera enforcement.

Superintendent Murphy said: “I was involved in the pilot for the red light running. It was a multi-agency pilot scheme to test and see what it was possible to do. To move it on as part of the road safety strategy, the NTA has taken that. I am involved with looking at it. As the assistant commissioner has already said, there is bus lane enforcement and parking on footpaths and so on. It is about rolling that out.”

He said: “At the moment, we are just looking to see what legislative tweaks we need to allow the NTA to prosecute on its own behalf rather than relying on An Garda Síochána to do it. That is sort of the modernisation of that system. We are working forward on that as part of the road safety strategy. Where we are today is an expansion of what we learned from the red light running system.”

A working group on camera-based enforcement includes the Department of Justice, the Department of Transport, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the National Transport Authority, and the Gardai.

Council plans more trials ahead of wider camera enforcement

Meanwhile at the last monthly meeting of Dublin City Council, former Lord Mayor, Cllr Alison Gilliland (Labour) asked for an update on camera enforcement, particularly about red lights. She said that the cameras could change behaviour “overnight” or “at least within a month”.

Brendan O’Brien, head of the traffic and transport section of Dublin City Council, said: “There has been a working group on how to progress camera-based enforcement and we’ve been taking part in that. It is due to report its final recommendations to the Department. In essence, it is to try and progress the camera-based enforcement.

He said: “We’re going to be looking at doing some trialling of camera-based, not necessary enforcement, but camera-based technology to actually start to get used to the technology I suppose and also to start to document what the issues are in a number of locations in the hope then that as the camera-based enforcement you know going through the whole legal process comes in space that we’re actually prepared.”

4 comments

  1. It has taken officialdom six years since the trial ended to even begin rolling it out.
    I suspect reluctance to inflame motordom might have had a bearing on this tardiness!

    Reply
    • Ironically rampant red-light running delays motorists.

      The fact that the traffic management system has a built-in 1-2 second delay from red to the opposing direction’s light going green is a by-product of late-running-red motorists. If the camera enforcement was there, there wouldn’t be a need for that 1-2 second delay.

      Also, I am sure we have all experienced the situation of not being able to move off at a green light because there are still motorists that, have broken their light, are clearing the junction – or worse – blocking the junction because they went late and there’s nowhere to go in a full junction.

      Reply
  2. There is a traffic camera mounted on the signal pole on Pearse St at the junction with Westland St. on the Goldsmith Hall side. It has been there for years. Is it ANPR enabled?

    Reply
    • There’s CCTV for monitoring and ANPR for the Gardaí dotted around the city but none of these are able to be used for automated enforcement as far as I know.

      ANPR might have that capability but they wouldn’t be red light cameras.

      Reply

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