A DEVICE resembling a camera has been found in a staff changing room at Waves Leisure Centre in Lurgan.
The ‘camera’ was discovered three weeks ago on top of a locker in an area used by workers to change clothes and shower.
A staff member found the object and raised the matter with his union representative at GMB after claiming he was unable to contact Waves management.
A GMB convenor and the employee took photos of the device in the changing rooms.
While there is no suggestion cameras have been found in other public areas of Waves Leisure complex, the Mail was unable to obtain more information from Craigavon Borough Council. The Mail sent a list of detailed questions to the Chief Executive, the Director of Leisure Services and CBC Press Office regarding the discovery. However, the only response received was: “There is an ongoing investigation. Council is not in a position to comment any further.”
Two senior members of the GMB union contacted the Mail voicing their concerns in relation to the council’s response to what has been described as ‘this sinister and alarming situation’.
Top GMB organiser Alan Perry lambasted the lack of response from the Council adding there is concern that other cameras may be located at Waves Leisure Centre. “We don’t know if there are more cameras. We need reassurances on this.”
One source however told the Editor of the Mail that it is not a ‘live’ device.
GMB representative, John Dawson said: “The object which had the initials CCD Camera appeared at first to be attached to the wall but closer examination established it was positioned on top of a locker facing an area where male staff employees would change and shower.”
The union representative said they secured the area and other employees who arrived for a shift change were advised of the situation. He added that he understood that a council officer later arrived to examine the camera by opening a small lid which revealed two batteries and apparently commented that it could be a ‘dummy camera’.
Mr Dawson continued: “The GMB convener challenged the CBC officer and his expertise on the subject and demanded to know if he was going to inspect the other changing rooms as a large number of children had been standing in the corridor earlier prior to the CBC officer’s arrival.
“This officer’s response was that it was now a management issue and requested time to carry out an investigation.”
He explained that the union representative went straight to the police station to report the incident.
Mr Dawson said the Union later met with the council chief executive, Dr Donaldson and the director of leisure services. Mr Dawson claimed that during the meeting Mrs Donaldson allegedly told the Union not to contact party leaders about the incident to allow her an opportunity to carry out an investigation.
The Union agreed but have since voiced concerns about the council’s response, accusing the council of failing to act other than asking a select number of employees to attend an interview on January 3.
The Union said it has met with the PSNI twice since the object was found however Mr John Dawson added: “To date GMB has not received any update from her (Mrs Donaldson) or any officers of CBC nor any clarification regarding the camera.
“One would have to question why CBC has allowed a 20-day period to lapse without any form of investigation taking place and to date CBC has yet to provide expertise advice or knowledge regarding the camera. One would assume due to the nature of the incident CBC would have given the camera to the PSNI for examination, but GMB believe since January 11 management have possession of the camera,” said Mr Dawson.
He stressed: “Despite the fact that GMB acted in the best interests of the public by reporting this incident to the PSNI and irrespective who or for what reason placed this camera, dummy or not, in a changing room, CBC - especially the chief executive Dr Theresa Donaldson - must answer serious questions regarding how this investigation has been conducted to date and why GMB who reacted to what is a very alarming and sinister incident by supporting CBC have been ignored. GMB would request that party leaders pursue this matter as a matter of urgency and GMB will be expecting a full report on this incident from the chief executive.”
A police spokeswoman said: “Police in Lurgan received a report of suspicious activity at leisure facilities on Robert Street on Friday, January 11.
“Police are liaising with staff at the leisure facility pending the outcome of an internal investigation. There are no further details at this stage.”