Meath Live has learned that a Private Investigator is actively monitoring a green space on the Millbourne estate in Ashbourne.

The site owned by Michael Ryan of Rybo developments is the only green area available for children on the estate to play on but the developer has received planning permission to construct thirty apartments on it, something residents are strongly opposed to.

Initially Meath County Council refused permission but this decision was overturned by Bord Pleanala and that decision is set to go to a two day judicial review hearing in the near future.

Multiple sources have told Meath Live that residents recently became aware that a Private Investigator was monitoring the site and taking photographs of people in the vicinity of it.

One source revealed, ‘ In recent days Gardai have been speaking to people on the estate abut various matters concerning the site and residents have become aware that a Private Investigator has been operating in the area possibly for over a year.

‘There are grave concerns about this especially as kids often play around that area.’

A legal source clarified for Meath Live that it is not illegal for an individual to take photographs of children without parental consent however they have to be extremely careful as to where those pictures end up and about identifying them.

They said, ‘Other than the provisions contained in the Child Trafficking and Pornography Acts 1998/2004, which contain specific provisions on the exploitation of children, there is no specific legal constraint on taking photographs or recording visual material with children and young people.

‘Photographs and visual images are regarded as personal data under the Data Protection Acts 1998/2003. Personal data is defined as data relating to a living
individual who can be identified from the data or from the data in conjunction with other information in the possession of the data controller. It must be obtained fairly, accurate, kept up to date and should be kept and used only for one or more specified
lawful purposes.

‘This why you will often see photos of underage sports teams on social media without any names being attached.

‘However photographing someone in the interests of security is permissible it is the same as placing CCTV cameras on a property.’

Local councillor Joe Bonner told Meath Live, ‘I can understand the residents concerns and really I would question the need for a Private Investigator to be used, there is an ongoing legal process and that should be allowed proceed unhindered.’

Millbourne Residents Association declined to comment.