To tackle illegal dumping, in Clondalkin, a security camera not only watches offenders but talks to them.

For a period of just over two months, South Dublin County Council piloted talking closed-circuit television (CCTV) at a bottle bank at the Mill Shopping Centre in Clondalkin. Talking CCTV involves a surveillance camera equipped with a speaker to allow an operator to address the people at the site.

Signage at the bottle bank alerts people to the fact CCTV is in operation in the area. But when they leave debris an audible warning is issued,

This is South Dublin County Council, please return your unused rubbish to the car.

According to Stephen Tyrrell of TEC Security Services, people displayed similar reactions to the talking CCTV,

People basically freeze, they can't believe what’s come over the airwaves; they don’t know where it’s coming from, why the picture or the speaker is talking to them.

John Quinlivan from the South Dublin County Council's Environmental Services Department explains the talking CCTV was tested as part of a scheme to tackle illegal dumping.

We tried this as an option to see if we could actually prevent people from dumping rather than have to bear the cost of actually cleaning up after them.

As the trial in Clondalkin has been quite successful South Dublin County Council hope to extending the technology to some of its other facilities in Dublin. A number of other city and county councils have also expressed an interest in the technology.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 24 January 2008. The reporter is Samantha Libreri.