Money for Community Alert groups to halt criminals by text alert

Laois TD and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan makes announcement

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

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Leinster Express

crime garda text alert

Many Community Alert Groups have set up text alert schemes to halt criminals.

Community Alert Groups in Laois and other counties are eligible to get a share of €50,000 to help the fight against crime following an announcement by Laois TD and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD.

Minister Flanagan announced on Tuesday, December 2 that the Rebate Scheme, which ran in 2016 and 2017, will allow Text Alert Groups registered with An Garda Síochána to apply for funding to contribute towards their yearly running costs.

He said the new funding has been allocated to the 2017 scheme but the Minister has extended the deadline to draw down this funding to 31 January 2018.

"I am happy to announce that I have allocated additional funding available for the 2017 Text Alert Rebate Scheme and extended the application deadline to 31 January 2018. The rebate is available to almost 1,000 local groups registered under the Garda Text Alert Scheme. At the Ploughing Championships in September, I announced that my Department would provide €100,000 for the rebate scheme.

"However, following discussions with community groups and in response to the positive feedback on the Text Alert Scheme, I am allocating a further €50,000 as an addition to the 2017 allocation of €100,000. The funding allows a rebate on the costs of operating the Text Alert Scheme - I urge communities to learn about the scheme and to embrace it.

"Community Alert, and Text Alert, in particular, are perfect examples of citizens working in tandem with their local Gardaí to provide a safer community for all those who live there. I recognise that these schemes can place a financial burden on some groups, especially those with a considerable number of members. This additional rebate funding will assist with costs," he said.

Under the Text Alert Scheme, An Garda Síochána provide information by text or e-mail to each registered 'Community Contact' and they, in turn, will forward the information by text or e-mail to all members of their “Community Group”.

The “Text Alert” system is designed to facilitate improved communication with Community Crime Prevention Programmes. Texts/e-mails in relation to crime prevention advice/measures and important public information are transmitted through the scheme.

“Living and working, in and for, a strongly rural constituency all my life, I understand and appreciate the impact that Text Alert Groups can have in local areas. They are a vital link between the public and An Garda Síochána, and let no one have any doubt about the commitment of An Garda Síochána and this Government to ensure that we tackle crime in this country.

"My Department is available to help local groups in both rural and urban areas to apply for this important funding. These schemes allow new technologies to fuse with the traditional value of active community engagement all around Ireland, and I would encourage all groups to make your applications through Muintir na Tire, by January 31, 2018 to avail of this year’s rebate scheme," concluded the Minster.